Exhibition venues and convention centres around the world are currently increasingly being converted into temporary hospitals and health centres in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. A new guide, produced jointly by AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition industry, assists members of both global associations in dealing with these and similar requests.
The Guide will be distributed to all AIPC and UFI members to support them in what for many is a new experience with limited precedent. It follows on from the “Good Practices Guide to COVID-19 for Convention and Exhibition Centres” guidebook that was produced and distributed in early March of this year. “This is the second guide to facility management under pandemic conditions to be produced by AIPC and UFI within a few weeks, but one that is of crucial importance to our many members who are being called upon to engage in this way”, says AIPC President Aloysius Arlando. “As a result of the professionalism, generosity and expertise of AIPC and UFI members – particularly those who are members of our Safety and Security Task Force – it incorporates some of the very latest front-line insights that have been and will continue to be gained in the midst of the crisis itself”.
“Many of our colleagues around the world are having to repurpose their venues to serve key roles in dealing with the fallout from COVID-19, and many others will inevitably follow” said UFI President Mary Larkin. “However, the experience of conversion to emergency use – and the re-commissioning once the crisis has passed – is currently limited. This guide will help all member venues prepare for and perform in an exceptional role that they were not specifically designed for but are increasingly being asked or forced to play as temporary emergency facilities”.
The guide has been created as a collaborative project between the two organisations to promote efficiency and consistency amongst different types of member venues. It provides both specific guidance and a framework within which centres can organise their activities in order to put to full use the relevant, practical information and experiences that are accumulating based on the actions of many centres worldwide.“The reasons for having to become a temporary emergency facility vary, ranging from pandemics to natural disasters. The same goes for the purpose of any particular conversion – so this guidance has been collected, assembled and presented with multiple possibilities in mind,” said Arlando. “As challenging as such conversions may be, they will inevitably result in enhanced overall capabilities over the long term, and strengthen centre capabilities for the future”, added Larkin.