With the declaration of a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, the Coronavirus has seriously affected the events industry from an international perspective. The reality of airborne transmission, extensive illness, and death have caused multiple cancellations and a lot of concern about moving forward with events in China and other countries all around the globe.
Travel and Product Shipping Issues
The events industry relies on the ability of people to travel to get to the venues where conventions, business networking events, and social occasions are held. It also relies on the ability to ship products for those events from their manufacturers or sellers in other countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the Coronavirus is serious enough to drastically limit and halt transportation into and out of China.
Public Health and Concern Is a Factor
While the practical matters of transportation for events that rely on Chinese venues or vendors are stymied by the Coronavirus spread, the concern of people involved in the industry and those planning to attend events also comes into play. Even if travel is allowed, members of the public are understandably concerned about heading to parts of the world with active disease cases.
Even if an event coordinator puts all possible precautions in place, attendees may not feel comfortable at this time rubbing elbows with people who may have traveled to China or another place where the infection exists. The events industry as a whole needs to market the safety and health considerations of the chosen venues and equipment in order to appease people they want to buy tickets.
Precautions and Risk Assessment in the Events Industry
A knee-jerk reaction to the spread of the Coronavirus would be to simply refuse to do business with Chinese vendors, venues, or allow anyone who recently visited that country to attend. However, since this Asian nation is a significant player in world economy and business, may not be practical. It is important to note that many other countries have now been affected by this disease. Things like official travel bands take the decision out of your hands, however.
Every large events coordinator should work closely with their insurance company and legal team to determine how best to move forward during these difficult times. This type of risk assessment ensures you will not be held financially or legally responsible for anyone contracting the virus at your event. While this may seem cold and money-motivated, these discussions primarily focus on how to negate the possibility of anyone coming in contact with the coronavirus to begin with.
The events industry today relies not only on a global audience to attend different parties, conventions, and more, but it also sources everything from trade booth displays to plastic plates and cups from affected countries. As the severity of the Coronavirus changes, the industry must stay on top of travel and import restrictions, possibility of rescheduling and cancellations, and the overall public attitude of large-scale events at this worrisome time.