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Ready for Re-Start: Messe Düsseldorf draws up Hygiene and Infection Protection Concept

CEO Diener: “We offer all the prerequisites for safe and successful trade fairs in Corona times”

Here we go again: CARAVAN SALON Düsseldorf, the world’s leading trade fair for motorhomes and caravans, will mark the resumption of trade fair operations at the homebase in Düsseldorf from 4 to 13 September 2020. After the lockdown in spring it has been possible to hold trade fairs and congresses again subject to specific conditions in North Rhine-Westphalia since 31 May 2020. Other Düsseldorf events on the agenda for this year include the medical technology trade fairs MEDICA and COMPAMED (16 – 19/11), the industrial fittings event VALVE WORLD EXPO (1 – 3/12) as well as the trade fair duo for wire, cable, pipes and tubes, wire and Tube (7 – 11/12).

The Hygiene and Infection Protection Concept of the Düsseldorf exhibition centre enables relevant industry platforms to be held while ensuring the greatest protection possible for exhibitors, visitors, partners and members of staff. It ensures observance of the required health precautions, hygiene measures and distancing rules and encompasses both measures for headcount and space management as well as hygiene, technical and organisational measures provided by the federal state government for holding congresses and trade fairs. The current Corona Protection Ordinance of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia serves as a basis.

At the same time, the gradual easing of international travel restrictions promotes the resumption of trade fair operations. Following the first border openings within Europe the German Federal Government has gradually lifted the restrictions for entries from third countries since 1 July 2020. Such initiatives especially benefit Düsseldorf’s leading international trade fairs as they stand out with their particularly high international attendance. In 2019 this stood at 73.4% for exhibitors and 37.1% for visitors.

Significant Step for Business

"I welcome how responsibly Messe Düsseldorf deals with the topic of infection protection and takes all precautions to ensure that safe trade fair operations are also possible in Corona times," emphasises Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of the state capital and chairman of the supervisory board of Messe Düsseldorf. “With its concept the trade fair company provides the basis for the re-start that business needs so urgently. Its global No. 1 trade fairs are indispensable for this; and this not only applies to exhibitors and visitors from throughout the world but also to the numerous firms operating in skilled crafts, stand construction, transport, catering, hospitality and retail that all benefit from the events.” According to a study by Munich-based ifo Institute, Düsseldorf’s trade fair and congress operations induce annual sales of approx. EUR 2.98 billion across Germany (in Düsseldorf: EUR 1.66 billion), secure 27,692 jobs (in Düsseldorf: 16,664) and generate additional tax revenue of EUR 567 million (in Düsseldorf: EUR 36.3). One third of all overnight stays at hotels are accounted for by trade fairs.

Emphasising the special relevance for the exhibiting industries, Wolfram N. Diener, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf since 1 July 2020, says: “All signs are pointing towards a new departure. Enterprises need platforms now to present themselves and their innovations, to network and jointly chart the course for the future. With our leading international trade fairs we deliver second-to-none prerequisites for doing so. Our hygiene and infection protection standards ensure that the safety and health of our exhibitors, visitors, partners and members of staff are protected in the best possible way. We are ready.”

Detailed Concept based on Proven Measures

As a matter of principle, the official distancing and hygiene rules shall be applicable at events held at the Düsseldorf exhibition centre, compliance is also up to each individual – as is the case in the public sphere and in retail. These rules include maintaining a minimum distance of 1.5 m, seeing to one’s own hand hygiene, wearing a face mask, following the sneeze etiquette and foregoing such welcoming rituals as shaking hands. If needed face masks will be handed out by service staff at the entrances and at the premises.

All forthcoming events at the Düsseldorf location will be subject to a limitation on persons present to ensure minimum distancing can be observed. Tickets will therefore be limited and only available online; visitors will have to register upon purchasing them. This permits the monitoring of headcount as people enter the venue. At the same time, the provisions of the Corona Protection Ordinance of the federal state North Rhine-Westphalia governing the traceability of all persons present can be complied with and implemented.

Concrete Measures during Trade Fair Operations

Wherever queues form, floor markings will draw attention to the minimum distancing requirements. Here and on all public spaces Messe Düsseldorf staff and security personnel will ensure these distances are observed. This is performed on site and by means of existing video systems. At the exhibitors’ stands this is done by their employees. To avoid bumping into people all aisles are to be used as in road traffic i.e. by keeping to the “right-hand lane”. All doors – with the exception of fire protection doors – will be wide open for contactless use. 

Sanitizers will be made available across the entire premises; at stands exhibitors themselves will be in charge of this. All payment transactions will be cashless – to the extent possible. For this reason all ticket counters will remain closed. Service desks, counters, etc. will be equipped with transparent partitions as hygiene guards. At least twice a day – also more frequently depending on the footfall – turnstiles and ticket scanners, service desk and counter tops as well as contact surfaces such as door handles etc. will be cleaned.

In the toilet facilities the maximum number of persons is determined by the number of open WCs and urinals. Here one out of two urinals and wash basins will be blocked off; WC cubicles will all be accessible without any restrictions. To monitor the number of users and safeguard the shorter cleaning and disinfection intervals of WCs, handles, washbasins and taps all toilet facilities will be staffed permanently by cleaners.

Constant and sufficient ventilation is ensured – by the air-handling systems and the specifications for stand construction and exhibit displays: the volume of fresh air constantly supplied to the halls exceeds the actual need many times over and the fresh air quality corresponds to the outdoor air. Furthermore, conference rooms or ground floors in multi-storey stands are only permitted with open layouts to ensure they receive sufficient ventilation. The same applies to walk-in exhibits whose doors, windows and roof hatches have to be open at all times. 

As before, there will be food service and catering offered at the events. The operators have to draw up their own hygiene and infection protection concept for this based on the Corona Protection Ordinance of the federal state of NRW and its annexes. For the duration of the Corona pandemic there is a general ban on stand parties and/or exhibitor parties at the premises. Stand construction is governed by the “SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutz-standard” H&S standard of the Federal German Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs.

Safety for the Workforce of Messe Düsseldorf

The protection of the workforce is also guaranteed: all members of staff will receive textile face masks; for outdoor jobs there will be an additional visor. Tools are, if possible, personally assigned to individual employees – and will be cleaned before being handed over to third parties. Protective gloves are mandatory if jobs cannot be performed with personally assigned tools or if an immediate exchange of materials and objects is required.

The hygiene and infection protection standards are constantly adapted to future developments and changing legal requirements. Messe Düsseldorf will provide timely information on any changes. Wolfram N. Diener emphasises: "The safety of our exhibitors, visitors, partners and employees is always our top priority. As usual, they can expect a high level of hygiene, safety and good medical care at the Düsseldorf exhibition centre".