IAEE’s Expo! Expo! 2021 in Philadelphia Is the Latest Show to Require Proof of Vaccination 

October 1, 2021

Amid a growing trend to put strict health and safety protocols in place at events, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) has implemented a COVID-19 vaccine requirement, among other safety measures, for all in-person attendees and exhibitors of the hybrid Expo! Expo! IAEE Annual Meeting and Exhibition 2021. The event is scheduled for Dec. 7-9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) in Philadelphia.  

IAEE officials said the organization is committed to providing the safest event experience possible at Expo! Expo! and is working closely with its show partners on multiple health and safety measures. 

“The IAEE Board of Directors voted unanimously for the vaccine requirement and believes this is the right decision for our trade show community at this time,” said 2021 IAEE Chairperson Bob McLean, executive vice president of Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). “We are looking forward to experiencing the best and safest Expo! Expo! possible this year in Philadelphia.” 

According to IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, while Expo! Expo! is such a highly anticipated event in any given year, the enthusiasm for this year’s in-person event is understandably even higher, and the association must remain cognizant of ensuring a safe and successful experience for everyone.  

“We must continue to be mindful of the current environment and are therefore leaving no stone unturned,” DuBois said. “With everything IAEE and its partners are doing to provide the highest duty of care, we are confident that the Expo! Expo! experience will deliver as it always does.”

All attendees and exhibitors will be required to present proof of full vaccination, and the last shot must have been given before Nov. 22. Proof of vaccination can be submitted through the secure platform Fern Health Check, powered by ShareMy.Health. IAEE will share instructions and a link to the platform with participants a few weeks before the show via email. 

Masks will also be mandatory at Expo! Expo!, since Philadelphia has an indoor mask mandate for most businesses, except those that have required proof of vaccination for all staff and patrons. While the Pennsylvania Convention Center has instituted a vaccine mandate for its entire workforce, it has opted to keep its mask requirement in place for employees and anyone participating in events at the facility. 

Other health and safety measures for participants at Expo! Expo! will include agreeing to complete daily screening procedures, adhering to social distancing protocols put in place by IAEE and following the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and State of Pennsylvania guidelines for virus prevention, including hand washing and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. Expo! Expo! participants may also be subject to on-site COVID-19 rapid testing, and IAEE will share those details closer to the event date. 

Pennsylvania Convention Center Protocols

Meanwhile, as part of its commitment to reopening safely, the PCC earned Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation for outbreak prevention, response and recovery. As an ASM Global-managed facility, it also deployed the recently launched ASM VenueShield, an environmental hygiene program providing the highest levels of cleanliness and safety in partnership with leading medical professionals, industry experts and public health officials.

IAEE’s vaccine requirement announcement for Expo! Expo! comes as other industry entities are deciding to do the same, most recently for upcoming shows such as IMEX America 2021, set for Nov. 9-11 Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, and Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, scheduled for Jan. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Past shows that required proof of vaccination have included Reed Exhibitions’ Bar Convent Brooklyn, held Aug. 17-18 at the Brooklyn Expo Center and the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, held Sept. 19-21 at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. 

Meanwhile, leaders from the business and travel sectors recently gathered in Washington, D.C. to make a compelling case for the full and safe return of in-person professional meetings and events. Freeman, a global leader in events, and Epistemix, a computational modeling software company, also recently unveiled research that shows the safety of in-person business events when proper health and safety measures are in place.  

Show Highlights 

Dubbed the “Show for Shows,” Expo! Expo! will feature educational sessions that will be integrated with exhibitors on the trade show floor for a one-stop shop experience. The 2021 edition will showcase topics that are top of mind for decision makers, with high-level sessions covering strategic skills needed for leaders and companies to respond to future challenges, including cultivating content; communication and community; building networks with partners, exhibitors and attendees; and leading internal teams with empathy and optimism.

Digital Experience

This year’s show will also be offered as a digital experience. Streamed general sessions and exhibitor mobile sessions from the show floor will run Dec. 7-8, in addition to pre-recorded exclusive digital platform content on Dec. 9, which will focus on event operations as well as global perspectives, including the IAEE Asia Forum. There will be dedicated hours on the virtual platform for exhibitors and attendees to meet one-on-one or for attendees to browse through products and services at their leisure.

To register for the in-person or virtual Expo! Expo! event, go here. The deadline is Oct. 25.

Photo: Pennsylvania Convention Center. Credit: Greg Benson for PHLCVB

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