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ISE 2021 at ‘low risk’ from COVID-19, says WHO

The event is scheduled to take place in Barcelona from February 2-5

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the threat of COVID-19 at next year’s ISE 2021 show in Barcelona as low, despite last week’s news that CES 2021 has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

With questions marks facing all public gatherings and trade shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have raised concerns as to whether trade events such as NAMM and ISE will be able to go ahead in the early part of next year. However, ISE managing director Mike Blackman has recently been in Barcelona at the show’s new venue, the Fira de Barcelona, Gran Via, and has assured the industry that as things stand the event is to proceed as planned. That optimism will no doubt be bolstered by today’s (July 30) ‘low’ risk rating for the show.

“We have understandably had many questions from exhibitors and others about how ISE 2021 will be affected by the continuing public health situation,” said Blackman. “A Guide to Safe Exhibiting explains the adjustments that we and our exhibitors will need to make to ensure that the show is as safe as it can possibly be. The situation continues to evolve and we will update the Guide if any changes to the strategy are required. We remain committed to holding ISE 2021 at the Fira next February as an in-person event.”

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The WHO assessment takes into account the risk factors associated with the event and the impact of specifically formulated safety measures. Fira de Barcelona, risk consultancy AON and the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona have jointly devised strategies for events at the Fira. This has involved the evaluation and analysis of more than 60 processes or services, leading to the identification of 948 mitigation points.

The measures for ensuring a healthy and safe environment ISE 2021 are available as a comprehensive set of guidelines for exhibitors, ISE and Fira staff. They can be found in A Guide to Safe Exhibiting, published by show organiser Integrated Systems Events. The Guide is organised into four sections: Actions by Fira de Barcelona and ISE; Stand Design; Stand Management; and Visitor Guidance. Each section contains essential measures in the areas of health and safety; traffic flow and visitor management; staff, stand personnel and supplier working; and social distancing.

Last month, the annual InfoComm event, which was due to take place in Las `Vegas, was forced to cancel and reinvent itself as a virtual show in the form of InfoComm Connected. This model is likely to be adopted by many upcoming events due to the COVID-19 threat, with CES 2021 stating that it will now be held as an all-digital event.