A combined group of members from the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), the Association of Event Venues (AEV), and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), led by the three associations, has secured a go-date of 1 October 2020 for the UK exhibitions industry to resume operations.

This date was confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an update address on 17 July regarding measures and controls to combat Covid-19 in England. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to update their guidance separately. The date is also subject to completion of successful pilots.

Organisers, venues and suppliers have worked to create Covid-19 safe guidelines, which create the framework for the safe reopening of exhibitions. These guidelines will be issued shortly following final government sign-off. They include the ability to track and trace audiences and to create bespoke events on a risk-assessed basis.

AEO, AEV and ESSA members have also been working on a ‘Project Confidence’ initiative, a wide-reaching social media campaign across sectors, to reinforce the message about the safe environments being created, and also the economic impact to the event sector and the supply chains they serve.

Further, Easyfairs, the organiser of Packaging Innovations, which has now rescheduled to 8-9 December 2020, has entered into a partnership with SGS, an inspection, verification, testing and certification company, to reinforce its commitment to safeguarding the health and well-being of visitors and exhibitors, as well as Easyfairs employees, at its events and venues.

It is hoped that the 1 October 2020 go-date will allow exhibitors and visitors to restart their planning and, ‘engage with such a crucial trading platform that connects them with customers, and generates trade to support their business, supply chains, and the broader ecosystem of hotels and restaurants throughout the UK,’ according to AEO CEO Chris Skeith.