As countries around the world start to reopen their economy, the events industry seems to have drawn the least interest. Corporate events such as conferences and trade shows are very often bundled up with mass gatherings, which have been proved to facilitate Covid-19 infections. Therefore, events are usually part of the final phase of reopening, and for some countries that means waiting for a vaccine or a cure.
In India, this sector accounts for the employment of 10 million people which have been directly affected due to the crisis. The entire spectrum of M.I.C.E (meetings-incentives-convention-exhibition) is an INR 500,000 Crore market including organized and unorganized sector put together and COVID – 19 is responsible for impacting jobs at a global level too. These numbers are higher when you add to it the entertainment-based events like live concerts, sports meet, religious events, and award ceremonies.
EEMA as the industry apex body and association has taken the charge in bring the event industry stakeholders together in delivering clear local guidelines and pressuring governments to give the industry a plan for going back to work.
EEMA organized an open Webinar inviting all the industry partners and stakeholders to come together and releasedthe EEMA’s reopening guidelines aiming to show Indian authorities the live sector can reopen safely after months at a standstill. The webinar was attended by over 1000+ industry stakeholders and the SOP were received and appreciated by each of them during the 2 hours session.
In his opening address, President EEMA Mr. Roshan Abbas shared that
“The events industry that was steadily growing on a double-digit growth rate industry has seen a halt since Covid-19 has entered the global economy.”
“With the declaration of unlock 4.0, the government has allowed many industries to resume their work, but still some major sectors including events have not been permitted to operate, which has brought this wheel on a standstill.”
“These SOPs have been meticulously planned over the last few weeks taking into account guidelines issued by the Government and multiple global associations, and have been planned across every vertical the event industry represents.”
The SOP document was officially released by the special guest of honour, Ms. Valsa Singh Nair, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Govt. of Maharashtra. Witnessed by people from Govt. authorities, eminent members of EEMA, members of NEC, allied associations, hoteliers, technicians, designers, event support services and friends from the event industry.
The webinar reached over 60,000 people organically and was attended by over 12,000+ people from the industry across all social platforms. The messages and remarks from the attendees were very appreciating and have resulted in building it as a revolution within the industry.
EEMA simultaneously have initiated a digital campaign on all social media #OpenSafeEvents2SaveEvents encouraging individual companies and associations and trade unions to join the movement to come as a unified voice for pressuring the government to prioritize the reopening of event industry to help the industry to survive.
SpecialCOVID 19 task force lead by the General Secretary Siddhartha Chaturvediwith the committed team of EEMA’s member organisations aims to assist India’s hard-hit live business in resuming activity as soon and as safely as possible, in accordance with local government regulations. The production of the SOP guidelines was implemented by the task force in record time of 4 weeks. These SOP’s will become a strong communication point between us and government going forward, because government needs that confidence and we also need to give them this assurance that we can conduct safe events in pandemic times.
With the release of the guidelines, EEMA is working towards reopening the sector further. Among its recommendations are enhanced protocols related to sanitisation, cleaning, hygiene, attendee management, venue requirements and more.
“The event industry already carries out comprehensive risk assessment, safety checks and logistical planning for every event, so including a Covid-19 mitigation plan as an extension of existing event planning mechanisms is easily achievable,” says Siddhartha Chaturvedi, EEMA’s General Secretary. He also added, “The USP of this document is its exhaustive detailing and transparency which covers the entire life cycle of an event right from its inception to execution and post, we have covered it all under WHO norms. The detailing goes to the level of how the mehendi wala needs to operate in a wedding to how you manage a que for people queing in a temple festival to a road show vehicle going to a gram panchayat to sanitising mic and green rooms in an corporate events to smoothly conduct a large size physically distant conference to dining in a langar to dining in a cluster seating, to conducting a RWA activity, to a safe bar movement in a music festival we have tried covering it all.”
Roshan Abbas, adds: “During these difficult times we are pleased to see organised industry coming together to embrace safety protocols that protect employers, workforces and service provider working in the events industry”.
“We look forward to productive and constructive outcomes from these engagements. As representatives of the events sector, we remain engaged in looking for solutions to rebuild the economy of this much-needed sector.”
EEMA has also setup a Government Relations Committee chaired by Lalit Gatani and co-chaired by Samit Garg. The Committee would be taking the talks forward with theCentral and State governments and discuss the SOPs developed by the Industry to convince them about our readiness to reopen.