Fira is developing a protocol to guarantee the highest degree of safety and risk prevention in its venues

Fira de Barcelona is working towards resuming its trade fair activities after the summer, which were interrupted by the current situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the intention of being one of the main driving forces of economic recovery, given the wide variety of industries present at its events. With this in mind, the institution is defining a specific protocol to establish the utmost safety and prevention measures for its workers, exhibitors, visitors, organisers and participants during the events that will take place on its premises.   

As a result of the exceptional circumstances we are experiencing, Fira de Barcelona, like most international trade fair organisations, has had to re-schedule its event calendar and concentrate the dates in the last four months of this year, as is the case with Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week (VBBFW), BizBarcelona, Liber, Barcelona Boat Show, FoodTech or Alimentaria, which will be added to the list of events that were already scheduled for these dates from the outset, such as Smart City Expo World Congress and Expoquimia, Eurosurfas and Equiplast, among others. On the other hand, between the 20th and 24th of May, the Fira Campus Virtual digital platform will hold the Ensenyament and Futura events, which were originally scheduled for March.

But more than simply planning a new calendar, the priority is to hold the events while ensuring participants that the highest degree of safety and risk prevention will be met.  This objective will, in some cases, entail a new trade fair concept with hybrid models, which will combine virtual participation and physical presence, as is the case, for example, of the VBBFW show, and will also offer a new experience and the possibility of reaching a greater number of people.

Constanti Serrallonga, director of Fira de Barcelona, assures us that “the institution is working towards resuming the trade show activities in September, adopting new formats and the preventive measures necessary to become a driving force for the economy once again, while offering support to the companies during this greatly complex moment for everyone.” Serrallonga adds that “our priority is to resume activities in a safe and productive environment for all participants so that their attendance at an event can contribute to relaunching their business and networking.” 

Adaptation of spaces and capacities

In order to adapt its facilities to the new context, the institution is developing, with the advice of certified consultants and medical experts, an ambitious action protocol with safety and prevention measures, taking into account both the guidelines established by the authorities and the safety of workers, exhibitors, visitors, organisers, suppliers and attendees, especially for the events of a professional nature (B2B), highly specialised and unique compared with other types of large-scale activities.

Some of the key points are, among others, the preparation of spaces, health controls, hygiene, physical distancing, disinfection and cleaning of common areas and stands, health information and support, specific registration systems, regulating visitor flows and seating, and organisation of catering services.

Likewise, the institution is helping to define the course of action to ensure the health and safety of trade fair and exhibition attendees together with organisations that play an important role in the sector, and of which Fira de Barcelona is a member, such as EMECA (European Major Exhibition Centres Association) and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry; as well as with the Spanish Trade Fair Association, AFE, with which it is working to establish a general action protocol for the country with the relevant authorities.