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COLOGNE, Germany: Over the past months, concerns have arisen about the likelihood of the International Dental Show (IDS) taking place in March 2021 owing to the ongoing global pandemic. On a prototype exhibition floor, Koelnmesse, who stages the show, has now officially demonstrated its detailed concept for making IDS attendance safe for exhibitors and visitors.
Since large parts of the world went into lockdown in March owing to the accelerating spread of SARS-CoV-2 outside China, the formerly packed calendar of large in-person dental conferences and trade fairs has remained empty, posing an immense challenge for all participants in the dental industry worldwide. Organisers and companies alike felt compelled to break new ground in order to connect manufacturers and customers. Over the past months, several new digital and hybrid exhibition, event and trade fair formats have thus been offered to the dental community.
Organisers prioritise health and safety of trade fair attendees
In June, Koelnmesse launched its #B-SAFE4business campaign that included a comprehensive catalogue of protective measures. In order to give all prospective attendees an experience of IDS 2021 according to the new safety concepts, Koelnmesse has now presented a prototype of the trade fair, the #B-SAFE4business Village, on around 5,000 m2 in Hall 9. The prototype implements the requirements of the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The #B-SAFE4business Village is aimed at demonstrating that the organisers are well prepared for an event of the scale of IDS, which hosted over 160,000 trade visitors from 166 countries in 2019. Measures to be implemented for the 2021 show include a paperless ticketing system, a newly developed eGuard mobile application for managing visitor flow and a wide variety of stand construction concepts that take physical distancing rules into account. In addition, new event formats and digital technologies with hybrid exhibition stands will be offered in order to help exhibitors increase their reach should fewer international visitors be on-site.
In mid-October, the IDS organisers also announced that the duration of the event would be shortened to four days instead of five, from Wednesday, 10 March, to Saturday, 13 March.
The organisers emphasised again that they think that the successful implementation of IDS in about five months’ time will contribute essentially to the recovery of dental trade fairs and the dental business as a whole.
COVID-19 situation in Germany more serious than ever
Almost at the same time as Koelnmesse announced its prototype trade fair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the premiers of Germany’s federal states imposed another temporary countrywide lockdown. From 2 November, mass indoor events will be limited to 250 people—even those that offer approved hygiene and infection protection measures—and accommodation in Germany will only be provided for necessary and explicitly non-tourism purposes, for instance. The new regulations will remain in place until the end of November, when the German government plans to revaluate the situation and the effectiveness of these measures.
Early on Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute reported that the number of registered new coronavirus infections in Germany had reached a new peak of 16,774 cases within a day. With 10,047 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Cologne is among the areas most affected by the pandemic in Germany, only preceded by the metropolises of Munich (16,205 cases) and Hamburg (12,557 cases), according to the latest figures available from the institute.
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