COVID-19 risk management framework to be trialed on 2 pilot business events: STB

COVID-19 risk management framework to be trialed on 2 pilot business events: STB

Suntec city convention centre
People drive past the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre on Nov 10, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: A risk management framework for business events of up to 50 attendees has been developed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and it will be trialed with two pilot events before gradually scaling up to other events.

Business-to-business (B2B) events such as meetings, conventions, exhibitions and trade shows have been put on hold since March 2020 due to COVID-19. 

STB in a news release on Wednesday (Jul 22) said it is preparing for the "calibrated and safe resumption" of B2B events in the coming months.

The safe business event risk management framework was created after consultation with the industry and is aligned with international best practices, said STB.

"It arises from reflections and lessons learnt over the past few months, when businesses in Singapore’s (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) MICE sector conceptualised and re-imagined what a safe event could look like," it added.

READ: COVID-19: Religious services, large-scale events and entertainment venues ‘will take more time’ to resume

Under this framework, event organisers must achieve five key outcomes:

  • Infection control measures for every stage of the attendee's journey.
  • Limits on crowd density.
  • Limits on close contact between individuals.
  • Ensuring a safe and clean environment.
  • Preparing for emergencies related to COVID-19.

Besides adopting safety, hygiene and sanitisation practices, STB said local MICE businesses have also looked at technology to support the creation of virtual and hybrid business events.

"Hybrid formats with a mix of face-to-face and virtual interactions are likely to be the norm for business events in the near future," said STB.

The framework will be trialed on two potential hybrid events, the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics and the Asia MedTech Virtual Forum 2020.

Since March, the Ministry of Health announced that all events and gatherings with 250 or more attending at any one time must be suspended to reduce the risk of local transmission of COVID-19.

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The 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics, initially planned for March, will now be held from Aug 24 to Aug 26 while the Asia MedTech Virtual Forum 2020 will be held on Sep 24. 

Both events will have a maximum of 50 onsite attendees and about 1,000 attendees participating virtually across both events.

In its new hybrid format, sessions will be streamed online for delegates to attend the conference virtually.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to include hybrid elements for the Asia MedTech Virtual Forum 2020, such as virtual networking and online discussions which may be complemented by physical panel discussions and networking events.

"The two events were selected as pilots because their organisers have actively engaged event venues as well as STB to examine the safe management measures required for a safe event," said STB.

It added that if the two events run smoothly, STB may allow other similar events that can implement the required safe management measures to gradually resume.

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To provide further guidance to businesses, STB and Enterprise Singapore are also collaborating with the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers to come up with an industry resilience roadmap.

The roadmap focuses on three objectives; establishing best-in-class standards for new event safety measures, creating agile business models with a focus on digital capabilities, and develop pathways for "professional development in a post COVID-19 world".

Singapore Tourism Board's chief executive Keith Tan said Singapore's business events sector has shown resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Tan said: "While COVID-19 has severely disrupted the industry, I am confident that Singapore will lead the way in re-imagining what a safe and high-quality business event could look like."

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Source: CNA/lk(ta)

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