EEAA: Events should start back in August

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) Chief Executive, Claudia Sagripanti says events should start back by August as restrictions ease

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) are pushing for business events to return by August.

According to EEAA Chief Executive, Claudia Sagripanti—who spoke with our editor recently—said they would like to see events start back by Q4 2020, now the Federal Government’s three-step plan to loosen lockdown measures is in place.

“The sector needs support now with a clear timetable on when we can run events. August, September and the last quarter of 2020 is vital to recovery, but the industry needs a confirmed date to commence planning,” said Ms Sagripanti.

“We are very keen for a return. The majority of members will be able to convene events from August or September onwards—working within the government’s guidelines.”

Talking to state governments

It’s now up to the state and territory governments to put these federal guidelines in place. The EEAA is lobbying at the state level to get events back up and running, but it’s a complicated process Ms Sagripanti said.

Each state has its own rules, case numbers and leadership, which means the EEAA has to speak to each government individually.

“At the moment we are working state-by-state. We are interpreting every piece of news that comes out from the states and interpreting it for our members. It is challenging, but we are working on a state-by-state basis,” Ms Sagripanti said.

“In short, we can make our events safe”

The EEAA is also a member of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), which is representing the MICE industry at the Federal Level.

Bio-safe principles are a key to an early return

Ms Sagripanti is also on BECA’s safety and hygiene sub-committee, which has drafted a set of ‘bio-safe principles’ that will help convince state & federal governments, health professionals and delegates that business events can operate safely.

The principles are, according to EEAA and BECA, a critical element that differentiates business events from other ‘mass gatherings’. A point that the government has already ceded.

“We run highly organised events and can trace every one of our visitors, delegates, speakers and exhibitors as well as monitor, track and put in place a range of measures that will ensure our events will comply with Government measures on hygiene and physical distancing. In short, we can make our events safe,” Ms Sagripanti said.

The details of the COVIDSafe Principles were put to Government on Wednesday, and are to quell health concerns of both government and delegates.

“We are very focused on making sure the attendees and everyone that works within the industry is safe,” Ms Sagaripanti said.

Downloading the COVID-safe app won’t hurt

5 million people have downloaded the Federal Government’s COVID-safe app so far, and according to Ms Sagripanti, it is one of the levers that will help get business events going again.

“[Dowloading the app] is certainly something that we recommend. It’s certainly not the only lever, and we aren’t in a position to mandate it, but we support the use of the COVID-safe app. I’ve downloaded it, I’m perfectly happy doing that,” Ms Sagripanti said.

While some Australians are hesitant to download the app, Ms Sagripanti said the privacy concerns aren’t an issue for her.

“I’ve got the advice of the top privacy lawyers in the country and I’m an advocate [for the app]. It’s certainly something we encourage.”

Bringing business events raises all boats

While EEAA and BECA are focused on getting Event Organisers back to work as quickly as possible, there is also a wider benefit to the economy if business events return according to Ms Sagripanti.

“It’s a double benefit. It’s about securing the longevity of the industry itself, but also driving economic recovery.”

“We are supportive of economic recovery for our industry, but also for the broader business areas in which we work.”