500 - the magic delegate number for safe haven Iceland, with Finland to follow in August


Iceland is following up its post-Covid-19 reopening, 15 June, to arrivals from the EU/EEA, EFTA and UK, by easing regulations to include residents from nations outside of the Schengen area from 1 July. 

All visitors are invited to either be tested for coronavirus upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport or to go directly into a 14-day quarantine stay.

Iceland claims to have eliminated the virus by mid-May, drawing on its experience fighting catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions, avalanches and earthquakes. 

A comprehensive strategy of data-protection, including large-scale testing, tracing, and isolating gave the Icelandic authorities confidence in their reopening process while further controlling the pandemic.

Iceland is now attempting to capitalise on this reputation and donning the mantle given to the country by Bloomberg.com which called the tiny North Atlantic country ‘the ideal coronavirus refuge’.

Iceland is open for meetings for up to 500 people and is keen to ensure organisers it has put in place extra health measures in all hotels, event spaces and key venues. Restaurants are following strict guidelines, and transportation companies have implemented security strategies.

The Finnish Government has recommended that, as of 1 August, provided there are no significant setbacks, events with more than 500 persons may be organised in both indoor and outdoor spaces. 

Event organisers must follow the guidelines from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Ministry of Education and Culture concerning safe distancing and hygiene practices and Regional State Administrative Agencies will make final decisions concerning events one month at a time starting in July.

Provided there are no setbacks, restrictions on gatherings are likely to be lifted altogether as of 1 October 2020, in which case all indoor and outdoor events would be permitted without restrictions on the number of attendees. 

Finland’s flagship conference venue, Messukeskus Helsinki has published safety instructions based on the official guidelines. The venue’s guidelines have also been shaped by information obtained from the global association of the exhibition industry, UFI and guidelines prepared by The Association of Trade Fair and Event Organisers in Finland (MeTa ry).

A recent customer survey by the global association of the exhibition industry found that 74% of Finnish respondents said they wanted to visit a fair as soon as an event of interest to them was held again. More than 8,000 Finns responded to the survey conducted at the beginning of June. 

More information on Messukeskus safety policies here: Messukeskus’ COVID-19 safety instructions