By Gerardine Donough-Tan

What qualifies as a safe business event?

Under the safe management framework, organisers must ensure infection control measures for every stage of an event attendee’s journey, limit both crowd density and close contact between individuals, ensure a safe and clean environment and prepare for emergencies relating to COVID-19.

Hybrid events allow limited in-person attendance in Singapore and virtual presence worldwide through technology. The two test events are the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Computational Electromagnetics in August and Asia Pacific MedTech Virtual Forum 2020 in September. Each will have up to 50 on-site attendees, with a larger online audience of 1000 people.

The specialised IEEE conference, its first edition in Southeast Asia, was originally scheduled for March this year but was postponed when the virus spread widely. It is now scheduled to take place at Resorts World Sentosa from August 24 to 26.

General co-chair of the conference, Professor Shen Zhongxiang, said: “We chose to continue with our conference in Singapore because of the country’s strong track record in delivering quality business events. We have complete trust that the Singapore authorities and our venue partner have stringent measures to help us deliver a safe event for our participants.”

The Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association is trying a hybrid format for the first time. There will be virtual networking and online discussions on September 24, which may be complemented by physical panel discussions and networking events, observing the 50-people quota. More details will be released soon.

Organisers of both events worked with STB and venues on safe management measures. If these events proceed smoothly, other B2B events that meet requisite procedures may be able to follow suit.

STB chief executive Keith Tan acknowledged the resilience of Singapore’s business events sector during the pandemic. “We are grateful for their innovativeness and adaptability. While COVID-19 has severely disrupted the industry, I am confident that Singapore will lead the way in reimagining what a safe and high-quality business event could look like.”

Aloysius Arlando, President of the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, added: “We are taking a whole-of-industry approach in establishing safe operating standards and resilient businesses.”

For instance, the recently announced Industry Resilience Roadmap is a public-private partnership to guide event organisers in planning for the safe resumption of B2B events and a sustainable recovery. It will see an ‘operational guidebook’ being produced and safe event standards set, with attendant certification.