Fespa has issued a statement saying it is taking “proactive steps to minimise the risks to all participants at the March 2020 events in Madrid” in light of COVID-19 (coronavirus) developments and the recent cancellation of other shows in Europe.
The organisation has confirmed that Fespa Global Print Expo 2020 will take place as scheduled on 24 - 27 March 2020 in Spain, along with the co-located exhibitions, European Sign Expo 2020 and Sportswear Pro 2020.
The statement said: Fespa takes the concerns of exhibitors, visitors and partners regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 very seriously. Safety is always first priority, and the Fespa board and senior management team is actively monitoring all developments relating to COVID-19, guided by latest information from WHO (World Health Organisation).
Fespa is formally contacting all exhibiting companies from China at the three Madrid 2020 exhibitions, requiring that they provide documented evidence that all representatives of their company attending the exhibitions, including sub-contractors, have not resided in or visited China at any time after 5 March 2020. This represents a two-week period preceding the beginning of the build-up of the exhibitions.
Exhibiting companies from China not fulfilling this requirement will not be able to participate at the Madrid 2020 exhibitions, and their options are being clearly communicated to them in writing by Fespa’s representatives in China.
Fespa is in contact with all exhibitors and pre-registered visitors at the Madrid 2020 exhibitions to advise them of these measures and to request that they should not attend if they have visited China after 5 March 2020. This information will also be published on the event websites and on the main Fespa website, and communicated via the Fespa National Associations.
Fespa is working closely with IFEMA and with the relevant authorities in Madrid to provide exhibitors and visitors to the 2020 events with the relevant support and guidance. IFEMA has protocols linked to those established both by WHO and by the national Spanish Ministry of Health and regional Council of Health of the Community of Madrid regarding first-line actions to be taken should a case of infection by this virus be detected within its facilities.
Similarly, IFEMA has increased the health measures it takes, and is in constant contact with the authorities through its two medical service units, which are equipped to provide immediate medical attention during its events. Should a case be detected, it is, in turn, prepared to activate the appropriate protocol and refer the affected person to the reference hospital for observation and attention.
In addition, IFEMA's other preventive measures include expanding the signage for the two medical service units, so that people attending an event are aware of their existence and better able to locate them, if necessary.
The dissemination of the WHO recommendations has also been reinforced and these are visible at all strategic points of passage, where the location and emergency telephone number of IFEMA's medical service are also provided.
Hygiene measures in different parts of the premises have also been implemented and expanded by providing assistants with sanitary soap dispensers, as recommended by WHO, as well as strengthening the cleaning services of the facilities.
Fespa CEO Neil Felton said: “By taking this proactive step with regard to our exhibiting companies to China, our aim is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of every participant at our FESPA 2020 events to the best of our abilities, while also providing strong reassurance to our exhibitor and visitor communities. We look forward to a vibrant and successful event in Madrid in March.”