Industry bodies flag urgent need for timetable on when business events can restart

Industry bodies on both sides of the Tasman are calling on their respective governments to outline a clear timetable for the business event sector to restart, saying the sector should be treated differently to other mass gatherings.

Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) chief executive Claudia Sagripanti said that it was vitally important that government, at both the Federal and State level, understood that the business events industry can operate under a controlled set of “bio-safe” principles and should not be subject to the mass gathering restrictions that apply to other large scale public events such as sporting fixtures, festivals large-scale consumer events.

“The business events industry run highly organised events where we can trace every one of our visitors, delegates, speakers and exhibitors as well as monitor, track and put in place a range of measures that can ensure these events comply with government measures on hygiene and physical distancing,” she said.

The EEAA together with the Business Events Council of Australia, along with other major industry associations including the Venue Management Association, is developing safety and hygiene principles for the business events community.

The EEAA is also calling for a clear timetable on when the business events industry can restart.

“The sector needs support now with a clear timetable on when we can run events – August/September and the last quarter of 2020 is vital to recovery, but the industry needs a confirmed date to commence planning,” said Sagripanti.

“An August restart allows government and the health authorities further time to ensure the state’s COVID numbers continue to decrease and stabilise and to enable an agreed bio-safe environment for our controlled and organised events where the business community comes to do business.”

Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) is also urging the NZ government to make a clear distinction between business events and mass gatherings to give domestic events a solid platform to restart under Alert Level 2.

“The business events industry runs highly organised events where we can trace visitors, delegates, speakers and exhibitors as well as monitor, track and put in place a range of measures that  ensure these events comply with government measures on hygiene and physical distancing,” said CINZ chief executive Lisa Hopkins.

“We know tourism activities, Air New Zealand and regional airlines, as well as venues, hotels and food and beverage outlets will have specific guidelines under Alert Level 2, and these are all part of the mix when it comes to business events.

“CINZ has been focused on producing Safe Meetings Guidelines which will provide a framework to ensure all aspects of an assembly of people attending a business event have been considered.

“We want the government to understand that we take the health and safety of attendees and staff very seriously, and after all the great work which has been done by New Zealanders, we don’t want to move backwards. In fact we believe we can safely manage indoor business events of up to 500.

“All we ask is not to confuse a business event with a mass gathering. One is structured, controlled and managed, the other can be the complete opposite.”