UFI and SISO Executives Call On Governments to Enact Testing Over Quarantine Policies

October 12, 2020

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and SISO, the Society for Independent Show Organizers, are calling on global policymakers and governments to follow a “testing before quarantine” approach for business-related travel and activities. This approach, both organizations say — which would include activating the potentials of rapid antigen COVID-19 tests — would enable businesses to move forward out of a severe global recession. 

A statement signed by UFI President Mary Larkin (president of Diversified Communications, USA) and SISO Chair Doug Emslie (group chief executive, Tarsus Group) encouraged policymakers to find the best possible solutions to maintain the flow of people, products and services while the global community develops and rolls out vaccination programs. This protocol is greatly needed to stabilize businesses and help people around the world avoid economic hardships as government financial support programs are scaled back over time, Larkin and Emslie stressed. 

The exhibitions industry possesses one of the critical skills for any economic recovery, as it sets up and operates the market places and meeting places for industries and communities to meet for business, Larkin and Emslie said. Trade shows and exhibitions are organized events, as recognized by the WHO and governments — they are not unorganized mass gatherings. In recent months, hundreds of trade shows have taken place, predominantly in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with health and safety measures in place, based on global industry standards and aligned with local regulations. Not one of them has caused a COVID outbreak, Larkin and Emslie added. 

Simultaneously, hundreds of relevant trade shows have been cancelled or postponed because buyers and sellers aren’t able to plan to attend, primarily due to travel restrictions and rapidly changing quarantine regulations.

For economies to recover and sectors to restart, the business community needs clarity and reliable regulations for the coming months. Additionally, reliable rapid antigen COVID tests are becoming widely available and could provide the best solution for creating safe environments capable of holding managed business events. 

Rapid testing can be applied pre- and post-flight, and at the check in points for events – replacing the need for people to quarantine if tests are negative, Larkin and Emslie said. Combined with the existing safety measures around events, this will create a safe and reliable framework for business professionals to engage, and help the industry to overcome the current impasse that is causing more economic damage every day.

As a sector, we stand ready to implement rapid testing processed around our organized events, Larkin and Emslie said. They are asking governments and authorities to work with the industry to activate our knowledge and expertise to make sure businesses can meet and do business throughout the current pandemic. 

Read the full statement here.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: