At the moment the anxious question in Germany and all over the world is: When and how will life go on?
Does it even make sense to hold a B2B fair in the first half of 2021?
We are currently working on the hypothesis that we will hold Coiltech Deutschland on 19 and 20 May. At the same time, we are aware that this might not be possible and are preparing for this scenario in parallel.
You can find our assessment of the situation and how the current developments affect our planning and work on our information page Planning the 2021 exhibition under the sign of the Covid crisis.
We will decide whether to hold the fair based on two criteria:
While there is divided opinion on the government regulations, the vast majority practice the protective measures
The attitude of the German population towards the situation, measures and perspectives is controversial. For example, about 40% of the German population is in favour of restrictive measures such as exit restrictions and 40% is against them - see graph (1).
This is revealed by the COSMO COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring study which is carried out by the University of Erfurt in a joint project with other German institutions (2).
At the same time, most people in Germany comply with the essential behaviours to protect themselves from infection - or at least say it of themselves in the polls.
Whether it is wearing a mask or keeping a distance in general, washing hands or avoiding gatherings, refraining from private travel or keeping a distance during personal conversations, almost all of respondents, at least in COSMO's surveys, indicate that they adopt this caution.
It is interesting to observe that this adherence to protective measures (example: keeping your distance - see graph) is subject to little change over time and is independent of the current status of the pandemic.
The situation is quite different when it comes to the acceptance of government action. Here, over time, there has been an up and down and, above all, a strong polarisation of opinions.
In a business situation, one moves more carefully - visiting a B2B fair may be safer than meeting people in a private situation
It is human nature that behaviour depends on whether we are in a private or professional environment.
This also applies to the behaviours that can protect oneself from infection.
In the October edition, the COSMO COVID-19 Snapshot Monitor (2) found that almost all reasonable precautions, be it mask or distance, use of disinfectants, regular ventilation or avoidance of handshakes, are more adhered to in a professional context than in a private one.
The experiences at Coiltech Italia 2020 coincide with the results of this survey by the University of Erfurt.
We have already gained practical experience with a hygiene safety concept - at the 2020 edition Coiltech
Coiltech Italia was one of the few fairs that could be held in 2020.
We took several simple measures to ensure complete cleanliness and hygiene and encourage all participants to put their own best foot forward to protect themselves and others. You can review the complete hygiene and safety scheme of Coiltech 2020 in our archive.
It turned out that all participants were happy to comply with the guidelines.
In the post-show survey (4), more than 2/3 of the participants stated that the adopted measures had not had a negative impact on the atmosphere, 1/4 believed that there had been an effect, but to an acceptable extent, and only 3% claimed that the adopted measures had had a negative influence.
Lesson learned: a B2B fair with protective measures is still a B2B fair and does not become a spreader event.
Exhibitors and visitors at Coiltech Italia 2020 rated the implementation of the hygiene and safety concept very positively
In the post-fair survey, all participants gave positive or very positive evaluations of the measures implemented.
Respondents could choose on a four-point scale. The vast majority of visitors and exhibitors chose the highest rating (see graph).
The positive testimonials from visitors and exhibitors complement this quantitative result. To quote one: "Face-to-face meetings and the necessary hygiene precautions are reconcilable. Exhibitors and visitors to the fair had a fruitful exchange of ideas". (D.H., Schleich).
You can find further testimonials on the dedicated topic page.
We take it in our hands to put in place Coiltech avoiding the "Three Cs"
A trade fair takes place in closed spaces, the formation of groups is part of the typical picture, and conversations among market participants are the essence of such an event.
Now it is precisely these elements that are to be avoided to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.
Does this rule out the staging of a trade fair upfront?
No, it does not: the organiser can take procedural measures that allow all participants to meet and interact to exclude critical situations from the outset.
The ventilation is generously dimensioned for the expected number of participants
The number of people admitted in a hall at the same time depends on the air circulation, emergency evacuation possibilities and other criteria.
Under normal circumstances, the exhibition halls in which Coiltech Deutschland 2021 is scheduled to take place are approved for a total of over 10,000 people at the same time.
This order of magnitude is not reached when used as a trade fair, but for congresses, for example.
At Coiltech Italia, our experience over the years has been that the number of people visiting on both days is about 11 times the number visiting the stands (for more on the visitor profile of Coiltech, click here). On this basis, Coiltech Deutschland 2021 could expect to attract about 2400 visiting persons spread over two days.
The projected number of approx. 1,200 persons per day is way below the highest number of trade fair participants permitted by the Corona Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg (basis: 7 sqm per visitor, which would be 1,417).
We will keep track of the visitors present in each hall with a counting system to ensure that this number is adhered to.
Coiltech will, therefore, utilise the technical capacity of the halls to a maximum of 24% (see adjacent table).
No queues and crowds at the trade fair
At trade fairs, crowds typically occur at ticket counters, at the entrance before the exhibition halls' opening hours to the public, at hall passages and in restaurants and bars.
Here is an overview of the precautions we take to ensure that such situations do not arise in the first place at Coiltech or do not cause crowding if the situation should occur.
You can register online for the exhibition; this will save you waiting time at the entrance; we will set up a registration zone separate from the visitor check-in for those who have not pre-registered.
We carry out the process swiftly; markings on the floor in the waiting zone provide orientation for those arriving to assess and maintain the physical separation to others easily; we set up sufficient counters to keep queues to the unavoidable minimum.
Visitors and exhibitors enter the venue at different points.
They can be implemented in Ulm so that no doors have to be opened; moreover, they have sufficient width to set up a lane in each direction; markings on the floor indicate this intuitively.
Restaurant and bars:
Markings on the floor to provide orientation for keeping the spatial distance; fixed seating and standing areas; several points throughout the site to avoid accumulations at one point.
Visitors and exhibitors can talk to each other and maintain the proper physical separation
Coiltech's format also helps. It is designed to be simple and functional.
Each stand is equipped with a table suitable for meetings and a sufficient number of chairs for the size of the stand. So all participants can hold their discussions within the appropriate distances. On this topic page, you can find more information about the advantages of the Coiltech format.
We will arrange the conference rooms in such a way that there is a distance of at least 1 m between each person in the auditorium.
Why it is easy to adhere to the Hands-Face-Space guidelines at Coiltech
Everyone can protect themselves and their interlocutors with simple means.
We make it easy for Coiltech participants to do this during their visit to the fair:
We provide disinfectants for cleaning hands at all relevant points of the exhibition infrastructure (e.g. entrance, hall crossings, washrooms, bars/restaurant, conference halls) and all stands.
To facilitate orientation when observing the distances, we apply adhesive strips to all aisles. This will enable each visitor and exhibitor to assess the distance to others for themselves.
We expect everyone to come to the fair with a face mask and bring any necessary additional ones. If anyone needs more masks, we will provide them for a nominal fee.
(1) Graph based on data published here: https://projekte.uni-erfurt.de/cosmo2020/web/explorer/
(2) COSMO is a joint project of the University of Erfurt, Robert Koch Institute, Federal Center for Health Education, Leibniz Institute of Psychology, Science Media Center, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and Yale Institute for Global Health. In addition to funding from the research partners, COSMO is financially supported by the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society and the Thuringian State Chancellery.
Further information on the project can be found here: https://projekte.uni-erfurt.de/cosmo2020/web/about/
(3) Corona Ordinance Fairs (Corona Verordnung Messen Land Baden-Württemberg)
(4) Coiltech Italia 2020. The Post Show Report.