Can the meeting industry finally make its comeback?
Compared to a month ago the situation surely improved, in fact in many European countries and other continents too almost every sector is trading again.
However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the chances to organise big gatherings, conferences or just simply a meeting.
It is still not clear how big the venue has to be, the total amount of attendees, sanitisation guidelines and general rules to follow, which change enormously in each country. These differences are changing with the varying of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only one thing is for sure: we are all in this together, we are here to help the industry and our fellow EventProfs to go through these challenging times and come out of it stronger than before and more resilient.
So in this article, we will try to make things a bit more clear. This is a summary of Post-COVID plans in the countries that most suffered the epidemic.
Meetings’ Comeback in the United Kingdom
In our country, the UK still doesn’t mention plans for the event, meeting and hospitality industry. The information is currently still the same as one month ago. However, everyone can finally get a haircut from 4th July!
Also, a few days ago Boris Johnson announced a new measure: social distancing will have to be of one meter now.
Events’ Comeback in Italy
Conferences, congresses, big exhibitions and corporate gatherings will open again. The Italian government announced the start date would be the 15th July 2020. This is because the country’s decision provides the power to each region to be autonomous in their decisions.
To know more about the Italian situation in detail, it’s recommended to consult with individual regions’ governments. Safety guidelines, in particular one-meter social distancing and face masks indoors, are still valid (excluding speakers and moderators)
Gatherings’ Comeback in Germany
Germany, like Italy, is starting to open corporate meetings, exhibitions and trade shows, allowing each ‘Land’ to organise their diary.
For example in Berlin, since the 16th of June, outdoor corporate gatherings are allowed with a maximum of 500 attendees.
Indoor venues can host up to 150 attendees since the beginning of June. At the end of June, indoor gatherings can take place with a maximum of 300 participants.
For gatherings with more than 1k participants, they won’t happen until the 31st of August 2020. Bigger gatherings with more than 5k attendees won’t be allowed until the 24th of October 2020.
Everyone will have to attain safety guidelines, which are not currently public yet.
French Events Comeback
Big cultural and sports gatherings, festivals and trade shows can be organised, since the 22nd of June, up to 5k participants. In September this limit will likely be less strict, allowing even bigger get-togethers to happen.
Spanish meetings’ comeback
The first cities to benefit from the end of lockdown are Barcelona and Madrid: since the 25th of May, corporate meetings are allowed for up to 10 people. Cultural gatherings with less than 30 people are permitted indoors.
For outdoor meetings, the limit is up to 200 persons. The rule of 2 meters social distancing is still valid. By the end of June, the country should go back to normal, based on what announced the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanches a month ago. At the moment, there are no other updates.
Event and Meetings Comeback in Austria
Internal and external meetings, trade shows and conferences are allowed with approved risk prevention. Until the 1st of July 2020 gatherings can happen with up to 100 people. After that, the limit will be of 200.
From the 1st of August, even indoor gatherings will be possible with up to 500 attendees and up to 1,000 attendees with a special prevention strategy. For outdoor gatherings, from the 1st of August 2020 up to 750 visitors will be allowed (up to 1,250 with a special prevention strategy.)
For every type of allowed meeting, one-meter social distancing and face masks will be mandatory.
Greece, the European country that better managed the pandemic, from July will open its doors to concerts, congresses and fairs, without any kind of participants limit. To announce these new COVID-19 containment guidelines was Nikos Papathanasis, the Deputy Minister of Development and Investment.
A sanitary safety protocol will still put in place. Details are not public yet.
In Holland, business functions will open from the beginning of July. Meetings will be allowed up to 100 participants. 1.5-meter social distancing and hygienic guidelines are still on. Any gathering bigger than that will have to wait until September.
The government decided to revoke the limit of 500 participants for public meetings, starting from the 1st of July. However, event organisers are required to follow special guidelines: for example, the audience will have to be split into sectors.
At the moment it’s possible to organise public gatherings between 50 and 500 people, even indoors.
Many EventProfs required the same protocols to organise events bigger than 500 people when happening outdoors, and social distancing can be increased when dividing the public into sectors.
The debate is still very much open.
The US, like Germany, has many different scenarios. In California, for example, big gatherings can only happen during ‘Phase 4’. In Florida, it’s not clear what kind of get-togethers are allowed but the limit is 50 people. The same stands for Michigan (for indoor and outdoor events with up to 250 people), Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia.
From the 1st of July, in Australia the limit for non-essential indoor meetings will be up to 100 people with a more flexible protocol: every person must have 4 square meters around available.
Outdoor venues with more than 40k capacity will open only 25% of it for ticketed and seated events.
China was the first location of the Coronavirus outbreak and the country that adopted the most rigid measures. In this country, all limits have now stopped a while ago. Since the end of May, all kinds of gatherings, conferences and trade shows are happening with no participants limit. Hygiene protocols, social distancing, face masks, sanitization and ventilation of indoor venues are still practised.
Some of these measures are not happening in some areas in Beijing. Last week authorities announced an important number of new COVID-19 cases, linked to the Xinfadi Fish Market, in the southern area of Fengtai.
The wholesale market shut right after have been identified as a new hotbed. Since last Monday, 21 residential areas have been closed, hosting approx. 90,000 people, close to Xinfadi. A second fish market has been closed in the area of Haidian, where new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed and linked to Xinfadi.
To their inhabitants, it has been ordered to be home quarantined and take the virus test.
Japan planned to reopen meetings in June. Conferences and meetings in hotels or venues are allowed for up to 1,000 participants. It is still highly recommended to keep social distancing and keep regular hygiene.
Every country is managing the situation differently. As a UK based business, we can honestly say it’s frustrating not knowing what is going to happen. One thing is for sure though: we are all in this together, you are not alone and we can help each other thanks to technology and staying up to date. The best things to do for EventProfs at the moment is getting ready for when events will be back (because they will 100%, some countries just don’t know when yet), network and do those things you currently don’t have time to do like organising your computer folders or set new goals at work.
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
We know how challenging these times are for all EventProfs, as we are all on the same boat. Events WILL be back, we can only try to make the best out of this situation.
See also: 5 Skills to learn from COVID-19
See also: Mindfulness for #EventProfs
What are you doing to go through these challenging times? Let us know in the comments below.