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26 Measures for Reopening Exhibitions

A new document from UFI sets out conditions for running trade shows under COVID-19 conditions.

Meeting and hospitality industry organizations are working overtime to support their members during the pandemic, by driving research, delivering education, and, increasingly, creating plans for how to emerge intact after the crisis passes. Earlier this week, the U.S. Travel Association, with the support of 31 organizations, published guidelines for reopening travel industry businesses and the American Hotel & Lodging Association introduced Safe Stay, an “enhanced standard of health and safety protocols” to prepare hotels for the return of guests. Now, UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has released a new “global framework” for reopening exhibitions and B2B tradeshows.

UFI’s nine-page document is intended to be read in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s document, “Public Health for Mass Gatherings: Key Considerations,” but it argues that exhibitions are not comparable to other mass gatherings like sporting events and concerts and should be considered separately.

The document suggests 26 specific measures in five categories for running exhibitions when attendees, exhibitors, and other stakeholders need to be protected from possible coronavirus infection:

1. Personnel and personal safety
Example: Manage use of prevention materials (e.g. provide masks, disinfectant gel, disposable tissues).

2. Physical distancing
Example: Allow spacious distance between booths and aisles for circulation.

3. Health and safety
Example: Work with guidelines dealing with/denying entry to stakeholders who fail health-screening test (e.g. set up isolation areas; inform the local disease control department).

4. Crowd control
Example: Manage the number of attendees on the exhibition site (e.g. limit number based on area in gross square feet of the venue/hall, as proposed by exhibition safety managers; assign tickets to designated time slots such as days and hours).

5. Encourage and enforce measures
Example: Establish and maintain direct communication with local authorities.

The authors plan to update the document with best-practice examples in each category.

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