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Posted: Sunday, 12 July 2020 14:30

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Prowein 2021: Messe Düsseldorf takes Steps to ensure safe Opening

July 12: After postponing and subsequently cancelling this year’s Prowein on March 15-17, Messe Düsseldorf has taken adequate steps to ensure the safety of exhibitors, participants and workers, and will resume the trade shows in September with Caravan Salon slated to be held on September 4-13, 2020, following the strict safety and hygiene standards set by the government, and will be ready to welcome visitors of Prowein on 21-23 March 2021, writes Subhash Arora who recommends similar steps for such events in India

Barely two weeks before Prowein 2020-one of the world’s biggest wine shows, was to be held by Messe Düsseldorf GmbH this year on March 15-17, it announced postponing and then cancelling it because of Coronavirus scare. It was a bit of a surprise because Covid-19 seemingly had affected only Italy so far. I had returned barely a week earlier from Germany after judging at the Mundusvini Wine Competition at Neustadt and there was no sign of the virus there.

It was the vision of the organisers who realised the havoc it might cause and in their wisdom did not only forgo profits but suffered a heavy loss as arrangements were already nearing completion and money was refunded to the exhibitors. I was to learn a few days later that about 20 cases of infection had been detected very close to Düsseldorf! One shudders to think of the possible consequences if it were held since Germany was soon engulfed in the crisis.

Messe Düsseldorf to resume Shows

Therefore, when the same Messe Düsseldorf announced a week ago that they were fully prepared to resume the Show Business in September in the physical format (there have been many virtual shows organised in recent times across globe), one took a serious note and the precautions they seem to have taken to ensure a smooth and safe conducting the Shows like Prowein 2021, should even set an example for other countries like India to follow.  

The Hygiene and Infection Protection Concept of the exhibition centre enables Shows to be held while ensuring the greatest protection possible for all. It ensures observance of the required health precautions, hygiene measures and distancing rules and includes measures for headcount and space management as well as hygiene, technical and organisational measures provided by the state government for holding trade fairs. The current Corona Protection Ordinance of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) serves as a basis.

The gradual easing of international travel restrictions will also help the resumption of trade fair operations. Following the border openings within Europe, Germany has gradually lifted the restrictions for entries from countries outside Europe since 1 July 2020. This is important because of their high level of participation- 73.4% of exhibitors and 37.1% visitors were international in 2019.

Significant Step for Business

Thomas Geisel
, Mayor of Düsseldorf and chairman of the supervisory board of Messe Düsseldorf welcomes the way Messe is dealing with infection protection. He says, “with its concept the trade fair company provides a basis for the re-start that business needs urgently. Its globally leading trade fairs are indispensable, and this applies not only to exhibitors and visitors but also to the companies involved in skilled crafts, stand construction, transport, catering, hospitality and retail that benefit from the events.”

Wolfram N. Diener, the new CEO of Messe Düsseldorf since 1 July 2020 says they are ready. Emphasising the special relevance for the exhibiting industries, he says: “All signs are pointing towards a new departure. Enterprises need platforms now to present themselves and their innovations, to network and jointly chart the course for the future. With our leading international trade fairs, we deliver top prerequisites for doing so. Our hygiene and infection protection standards ensure that the safety and health of our exhibitors, visitors, partners and members of staff are protected in the best possible way. We are ready.”

Detailed Concept of Hygiene

The official distancing and hygiene rules shall be applicable at all events held at the Düsseldorf exhibition centre as a matter of principle. Compliance is also up to each individual, as is the case in the public sphere and retail. These rules include maintaining a minimum distance of 1.5 m and hand hygiene, wearing a face mask, following the sneeze etiquette and foregoing welcoming rituals like shaking hands, kissing or hugging. If needed, face masks will be handed out by service staff at the entrances and throughout the fairgrounds.

Events like Prowein will be subject to a limitation on persons present to ensure social distancing. Tickets will be limited and sold online; visitors must register upon purchase. This will permit monitoring the headcount as people enter the venue. At the same time, the provisions of the Corona Protection Ordinance governing the traceability of all persons present can be complied with and implemented.

Concrete Measures during Trade Fair Operations

Wherever lines are formed by the crowd, floor markings will indicate the minimum distancing requirements. Messe staff and security personnel will ensure these distances are observed- even using existing video systems. Exhibitors will manage their stand through their staff. To avoid bumping into people all aisles will be treated as road traffic- by keeping to the “right-hand lane”. All doors exception fire protection will remain wide open for a contactless approach.

Sanitizers will be available across the entire premises; at stands exhibitors will take care. All payment transactions will be cashless, to the extent possible. All ticket counters will remain closed. Service desks, counters, etc. will be equipped with transparent partitions as hygiene guards. At least twice a day or more, turnstiles and ticket scanners, service desk and counter tops and contact surfaces will be sanitised.

In the toilet facilities the maximum number of persons will be determined by the number of open WCs and urinals, blocking off one out of two to maintain social distancing ; WC cubicles will have no restrictions and will be staffed permanently by cleaners to monitor numbers and ensure cleanliness according to a set protocol.

Constant and sufficient ventilation will be ensured by the air-handling systems and the specifications for stand construction and exhibit displays. Conference rooms or ground floors in multi-storey stands will be permitted only with open layouts to ensure sufficient ventilation.

Food service and catering will be offered but the operators have to design their own hygiene and infection protection concept based on the CPO. There may be a general ban on stand and exhibitor parties at the Show. Stand construction will be according to Specifications defined by the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs.

Safety for the Workforce

The protection of the workforce will also be ensured. All members of staff will receive textile face masks and visors for outdoor jobs. Tools will be assigned personally to employees and cleaned before handing over to third parties. Protective gloves are mandatory where necessary.

International Wine Fairs like Prowein will don a new look with the emphasis on the safety and protection of every individual present at the event. The Show in September will be a precursor for Prowein 2021 to be held on March 21-23 and one hopes the safety and personal hygiene standards also set a global example, to safeguard against Covid-19

For a few earlier related Articles, please visit:

ProWein in March by Messe Düsseldorf postponed due to Coronavirus

Prowein 2020: Not only India, the World is going Dry

Winsome 25th Anniversary of Prowein in Düsseldorf

Curtain Raiser: Prowein 2019 opens Gates on March 17-19 for 25th Time

ProWein 2019: Spate of International Wine Shows to visit every Month from Jan-May

Subhash Arora

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