Health & Well-Being At Our Plastic Free World Conference 2020 in Cologne

Message date March 4, 2020

We at Trans-Global Events would like to express our concern for anyone around the world impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Equally, we are encouraged to see that more and more people are reportedly leaving hospitals in China, where the virus first materialized. Chinese authorities have worked diligently and appear to have now contained the virus domestically and consequently cases in the country and in the Wuhan, Hubei province, especially, appear to be declining rapidly.

We all now know that the virus has since spread into Europe and worldwide over the past few weeks. Unlike China, though, other countries have had the benefit of advance warning and preparedness and response measures are in place and government health departments in Europe are confident they can tackle the virus in a similar if not more effective way than China.

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo will take place as planned, and we are sharing experiences with our global network of friends in the international exhibition industry and many major international events taking place in Germany throughout March and April.

As of today, there are 15 weeks before Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020 in Cologne opens. COVID-19 has been a headline news item and a concern to health authorities since around 21 January 2020 – i.e. six weeks. But with 15 weeks to go before we open the doors in Cologne, it is reasonable to anticipate that the fear, risks and volatility arising from the virus will have reduced and quite probably gone by then, at least for the time being.


What do we know about COVID-19?

Our information source is the World Health Organization (WHO) and the website, which provides statistics on what is happening and the cases per country. The most important aspect of this that you will see is that cases of the illness are actually falling. At peak, there were 89,252 cases, mostly in China. Today there are 45,221 recoveries and around 41,000 cases ongoing. The containment measures being put in place – while frustrating – are at least seemingly radically reducing the spread of the illness. It is reasonable to expect that, with 15 weeks to go before we open, if similar recovery levels are maintained and measures are incorporated to control its spread, COVID-19 will be pretty much eradicated. Add to the picture the expectation of warmer weather (which may help stem the virus) and we really do not envisage any problem at all with our Cologne conference in June.


What measures are we and our partners putting in place?

Working with Koelnmesse, the health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors and staff is our number one priority. The following is information regarding the position of Trans-Global Events and measures that we may put in place for Plastic Free World Conference & Expo with our partners in Cologne.

Koelnmesse is in close and constant contact with the health authorities and is implementing their recommendations and instructions accordingly. Our actions as a responsible conference organizer will be based on the recommendations and instructions of the relevant local authorities. We wish to reassure all participants of Plastic Free World Conference & Expo that should the German Federal Government and Local Cologne Authorities issue any further guidelines, they will be applied to Plastic Free World Conference & Expo.

Despite not opening for 15 weeks, we are nevertheless working closely with Koelnmesse to put measures in place, should they be required. The venue has increased its already high standards for cleaning high-traffic areas on the exhibition grounds such as entrances, door handles and escalator handrails and other high-volume touchpoints. Koelnmesse attendees are strongly being encouraged to disinfect their hands in the registration area before entering the venue. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been deployed in every toilet around the venue. Furthermore, additional disinfectant dispensers have been positioned at other locations around the venue. Shared equipment such as microphones, headsets, presentation laptops and clickers are being cleaned between each use. Strict food hygiene rules are already in place at Koelnmesse, although extra vigilance will be taken by catering staff during the catering breaks at the outlets within the conference. Additionally, there is a very high standard of immediate medical assistance within the conference center in Cologne.

Koelnmesse is adhering to the guidelines set by the WHO and the various relevant local bodies, including the Robert Koch Institute and the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry.

Trans-Global Events’ policy can be summed up as ‘sensible measures = comfort for all’, which ensures that visitors can attend with confidence. I hope this information is helpful. If you have any special concerns or questions, there will be a response from me or from a person with direct and relevant experience.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Plastic Free World Conference & Expo and wish you a successful event.

Mike Robinson, CEO, Trans-Global Events