Event Industry: 4k beds at London Excel to fight COVID-19 and many other venues turned into makeshift hospitals to help to fight the epidemic.
- Military planners working with NHS to build a hospital at London ExCel to relieve some pressure from the already existing healthcare facilities
- Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC), ‘stands ready’ to support the NHS ‘with immediate effect’
- ExCel centre will be transformed into the NHS Nightingale Hospital, with 4,000 beds provided of ventilators and oxygen
- The plan aims to assist thousands of coronavirus patients as regular hospitals are overwhelmed since the virus outbreak
With so many event cancellations caused by the Coronavirus, many venues and hotels are supporting the populations’ health care. In this article, we proudly share with you what the event industry is helping with.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, consequent travel bans and other limitations caused extensive event cancellations worldwide. STR press release from last week shared that hotels occupancy fell by 24.4% in comparison with last year’s same week.
This means that at the moment there are countless event venues and hotels all vacant, as the government’s restrictions increase on people’s movements and meetings.
However, even if the event industry is living countless cancellations, it is assisting with an alternative purpose to battle against COVID-19.
From Venues to Hospitals
Many countries took advantage of empty hotels for incoming quarantine travellers since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
To help hospitals and take some pressure off them, the hospitality industry is a possible overflow facility until the virus stops spreading.
Rob Paterson, Chief Executive of Best Western in Great Britain assured the company “would be willing to take unprecedented steps to support the national effort”.
London’s ExCel Centre being transformed into a provisional hospital to treat coronavirus patients
From next week our dear London’s ExCel Centre will open as a temporary hospital to support the pressure NHS is living since the coronavirus outbreak.
It is expected to have 4,000 beds circa in two separate halls as nearby London City Airport shuts civilian flights and is now fully in use for military aeroplanes. The Ministry of Defence is assisting the process, setting up the makeshift NHS Nightingale hospital at the ExCel. At the daily Government press conference, Mr Hancock declared “We will, next week, open a new hospital, the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the London Excel centre”
How the COVID-19 virus is challenging the events industry
On Sunday, military planners visited the facility in east London’s Docklands to start organising how the centre could be used.
Excel London can host up to 70,000 visitors among 87,000 square meters of space, with additional smaller areas within the exhibition site.
The centre hosts some of the most well-known shows such as the MCM Comic Con, BBC Good Food Show, Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI), London Bridal Fashion Week, Grand Designs Live, London Boat Show, many of which interest tens of thousands of visitors and have been rescheduled due to the epidemic.
Our beloved British exhibition centre is certainly contributing to the country’s health, creating circa 4,000 patients beds in two of his spacious halls.
It’s also things like these that make us proud of being in the events industry.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman previously confirmed the military would be providing help to deliver PPE (personal protective equipment) to hospitals and supporting the most exposed.
“The armed forces, as always, stand ready to help in any way that’s required.”
The spokesman also said there are currently no additional plans to implement makeshift hospitals but the military is ready to help.
Retired medical professionals are now being contacted to help fight the disease.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens stated healthcare staff are operating non-stop to treat this global
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “NHS staff are working round the clock gearing up to deal with this unparalleled global disease.
In addition to event venues and hotels turned in to makeshift hospitals, it seems private hospitals are not called into action which contributed to additional 20,000 staff, 8,000 beds and 1,200 ventilators at disposal.
Therefore following medical advice must be taken to the letter, staying at home to save lives.
“It remains vital that this huge mobilisation by the NHS is matched by action from the public,” concluded the NHS chief executive.
Other facilities like the London ExCel are now being considered as potential makeshift hospitals if required. Manchester Arena and Birmingham NEC are also designated for coronavirus fight.
This is a major decision that will have ramifications throughout many sports and the event industry and exemplifies how the current pandemic continues to disrupt even the most high profile and long-standing events.
Even the Tokyo Olympic games have been postponed by the far most important epidemic situation. However, this has happened once already back in 1944 during World War II.
With infected numbers currently rising in hit countries, it was becoming gradually expected that the Olympics would be affected too.
How event venues are helping abroad
In China, the government proficiently reassigned their venues into provisional hospitals, especially in Wuhan, where the virus initially originated. These venues include the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Centre, the Hongshan Gymnasium and another makeshift hospital, the “Wuhan Livingroom”.
The same plan has been seen in other hard-hit countries like Italy. The luxury fashion brand Moncler declared that 10 million euros would be donated to support the region of Lombardy in turning the in the ex Fiera Milano exhibition centre into a medical facility with over 400 intensive care beds. Work is proceeding and is due to be completed in a week; afterwards, it will still need to be prepared with appropriate supplies and medical staff.
In Spain, medical staff is now accepting the first patients with coronavirus at the Ifema exhibition centre in Madrid. The makeshift hospital created 5,500 beds, including 500 for intensive care, which makes it the biggest such facility in Europe. All of this was arranged in just 18 hours
The Spanish government has called up 52,000 extra professionals to support their country, which includes 14,000 retired doctors and nurses.
Even the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon started receiving patients in Madrid, giving its availability to the health authorities. The chains, with a strong presence in Madrid, have made 60,000 beds available. Madrid remains the hardest-hit city in Spain.
The next exhibition centre to be likely turned into a hospital is probably in New York, the current epicentre of the U.S. outbreak. The eyes are on the Javits Center in Manhattan as the city officials requested permission to use it as a hospital if the already existing medical facilities become too overwhelmed.
The big apple is also thinking of converting hotels too. In a Wall Street Journal’s interview with the city’s emergency management commissioner, Deanne Criswell, the now-empty hotels could be a significant addition of beds for patients with less life-threatening conditions so that main hospitals would have more room for people suffering from COVID-19.
This coronavirus epidemic is challenging even the top healthcare organisations in the world and has pushed government leaders and medical staff to get inventive with their response strategies — just like it has EventProfs.
All these worldwide events cancellations have now opened a chance for now-empty exhibition centres and hotels to contribute to fighting the COVID-19 disease. Although the events industry is deeply suffering from this unparalleled situation, it’s also demonstrating its power and resilience by unifying and supporting people in need.