Fira Barcelona to resume event calendar in September under precise anti-Covid protocol

Spanish facility Fira Barcelona shares its protocols, which can serve as a European signpost for other venues starting on the path to reopening.

Wider spaces that guarantee physical distance, artificial intelligence to control visitor flows and capacity limits, traceability of attendees’ contacts at the venues, possible temperature control upon entry and ventilation systems equipped with antibacterial filters. These are some of the measures featured in the safety and prevention protocol for Covid-19, which Fira de Barcelona has drawn up in collaboration with specialist risk consultancy firm, Aon and following advice from the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.

That is how the Fira is aiming to offer the maximum safety guarantees for its workers, organisers, exhibitors and visitors in view of the planned resuming of activity from September onwards.

Fira de Barcelona will hold events in the final quarter including the Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, BizBarcelona and Ocupació, Alimentaria, Foodtech, the Boat Show, Smart City Expo World Congress, Expoquimia, Eurosurfas and Equiplast.

The Fira management sees the institution as a driving force behind economic and social reactivation. In order to do this as safely as possible, a detailed manual has been developed based on an analysis of more than 400 processes associated with the holding of tradefairs and conferences. The manual identifies nearly 1,000 possible mitigation measures, including eliminating some processes and elements that could generate unnecessary risk interactions.

Fira General Manager, Constantí Serrallonga, underlined that the institution would prioritise the safety of all participants in events that organised in the Montjuïc and Gran Via venues during the last four months of the year. 

The GM pointed out that “due to its characteristics, Fira’s activity is similar to that of a large shopping centres, with the added value of having greater traceability in terms of the identity and contacts of professional visitors.

“We have carried out a detailed analysis of each of the actions that visitors, exhibitors, workers and suppliers carry out at the fairs, and measures will be implemented to minimise any risks, with the aim of holding them in the best conditions and once again becoming an important lever for the much-needed economic recovery.”
The Fira has committed to digitalising certain activities such as online registration systems, cashless payment systems and the sale of services online.

More access points to the facilities will be made available, with entry and pass systems using mobile phones and doing so at pre-assigned times in order to avoid queues. Similarly, temperature control of attendees using thermal cameras or portable equipment at the entry points can be undertaken.

Inside the venue, visitor flow and capacity limits will be controlled by artificial intelligence systems, and all the movements and contacts made by the attendees will be traceable.

The Fira says it will redesign exhibition spaces to ensure separation between individuals, and instigate automatic capacity control in common areas. The ventilation system will use antibacterial filters and there will be dispensers for sanitary face masks and disinfectant gel throughout the venue. The communal areas and frequent contact points will undergo enhanced cleaning.

Protection on stands and in conferences
The stands will be designed with easier to clean surfaces and reduced capacity limits.

The handing out of materials, such as documents and brochures, will not be recommended.

Concerning conference activity, attendance will be limited to ensure that safety distances are respected. This will be complemented by digital broadcasting.

Hygiene and sanitary controls will be enhanced in all catering processes, with food portioned into individual units.

All exhibitors and visitors to an event will be made aware of the protocols, both in advance and when arriving at the venue.

The Fira will also be setting up an Emergency Operations Committee to periodically re-evaluate the risks.

The Fira’s prevention protocol is endorsed by the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, which will review and validate the design of safety protocols, the structuring of control needs and tradefair strategies from a medical point of view.

Fira de Barcelona is also active in industry associations, including EMECA (European Major Exhibition Centres Association) and UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry; as well as with the Spanish Trade Fair Association (AFE), and is working with all of them to establish a general action protocol with the relevant authorities.