Cologne: 26.–29.10.2021 #fsb

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Questions and answers regarding the corona pandemic and making a trade fair

FAQs: Federal asked questions

1. Technology, hygiene and safety arrangements throughout the trade fair grounds

What ventilation technology does Koelnmesse use in the halls?

All of Koelnmesse’s exhibition halls are equipped with modern ventilation systems. The supply air (fresh outdoor air) is routed into a duct system that is kept separate from the exhaust air. Used air is discharged outside through separate ducts, thereby preventing aerosols from spreading through our ventilation systems.

Are contactless payments accepted everywhere on the trade fair grounds?

Contactless payments are accepted at all tills and in all shops. Contactless payments using the relevant cards can also be made in all of Koelnmesse’s fixed catering areas.

Can masks and disinfectant be purchased at the trade fair grounds? If yes, where?

Face masks must be worn to enter the trade fair ground. Hostesses will provide face masks at entrance areas to visitors and exhibitors that do not have their own to hand.

Additional masks and disinfectant products are available for purchase in our Koelnmesse shops on the trade fair ground.

However, we recommend that all exhibitors make arrangements for their own stock of face masks for their stand.

Control of distancing at the trade fair stand: Does non-compliance lead to stand closure?

Trade fair events in the era of the coronavirus are subject to the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance. The ordinance requires ensuring that minimum distancing can be maintained on the grounds and at the exhibition stands. The compliance obligation is the organiser’s responsibility, and at the trade fair stand it is also the responsibility of the stand operator. Official inspections may be conducted.

If trade fair stands become overcrowded, Koelnmesse will ask the respective stand operator to limit or regulate the number of people at the stand accordingly. In the event of non-compliance in spite of consultation and prompting, further measures may be required and may extend to closure of the trade fair stand.

Are the stands tested on location for compliance with coronavirus conditions and approved if they meet requirements?

There is no testing or approval of stands for compliance with the coronavirus requirements.

The measures to be taken at the trade fair stand can be implemented by simple rules, however, such as:

- Preventing bottlenecks at trade fair stands even during the planning stages

- Also observing minimum distances at the trade fair stand and making sure to wear mouth-nose protection

- Limiting the numbers of people at the trade fair stand if need be

- Ensuring minimum distancing or screens in seating areas

- Providing disinfectants

- Paying attention to hygiene measures wherever food is handed out

- Koelnmesse will provide a tracking app for registration at the exhibition stand; use of the app is mandatory

In this context, we also recommend that you contact the commissioned stand-construction company or our sales staff.

Can the Department of Health block the stand if there are objections?

Trade fair stands are subject to the general hygiene rules in the coronavirus era (specifically distancing, wearing of mouth-nose protection when not seated, disinfecting (of hands), etc.).

A trade fair event may be subject to monitoring by the relevant authorities. Trade fair stands are not typically blocked straight away; if they are blocked, this comes in response to failure to comply with a request for remedial measures.

Is there a form with safety instructions issued by Koelnmesse that exhibitors must submit once they have discussed these instructions with their stand staff (perhaps at a central collection point at Koelnmesse)?

Koelnmesse will not collect any documentation of having provided safety instructions. Consequently, there is no Koelnmesse form for use in documenting instructions to stand staff.

Sample instructions are available, however – for example, via the respective accident-insurance provider (trade and professional association), and can usually be found on their websites as well.

Documentation of instructions must be retained by the respective employer and submitted in the event of (official) inspections.

What should be taken into account during set-up and dismantling?

The general requirements of occupational health and safety apply during the set-up/dismantling phase. Here, too, the usual obligations apply with regard to conducting a risk assessment in accordance with the German Occupational Safety and Health Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz) and the general obligations to provide training.

The general measures in effect during set-up/dismantling include the provision of disinfectants and the obligation to wear mouth-nose protection if minimum distancing cannot be maintained during work.

Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (www.baua.de; SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety Rules).

Generally speaking, during the set-up/dismantling phase, stand-construction staff must also register, either in advance or upon arrival at the trade fair grounds, using a computer tool provided for this purpose by Koelnmesse. Use if access and exit roads into and out of the trade fair grounds is registered to ensure traceability after the fact.

Irrespective of this, for occupational health and safety reasons, each stand-construction operation is currently under an obligation to make attendance data available after the fact for the sake of traceability (persons, times on location, accessibility information).

Are there timeslots for each exhibitor so that halls are not too full?

No, Koelnmesse does not intend to assign timeslots to exhibitors. The number of people permitted on the trade fair ground is regulated and accounted for based on the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance (CoronaSchVO) as it applies to business premises. Likewise, trade fair layouts have been adjusted accordingly and aisles have been widened in keeping with the CoronaSchVO.

In this context, exhibitors should move presentations and even counters into their stand, as there are limited opportunities for these in the aisles themselves.

How are stand constructors/truck drivers tracked to ensure that there is a record of who is in the grounds, the times they are present and where they are for traceability purposes?

Truck drivers and stand constructors have to register online via the Koelnmesse ticket shop and specify the exhibition stand concerned. They then have to sign in before entering the grounds. Their vehicles are scanned on entry and exit to ensure that there is a record of the times when they were on the grounds.

Independent of this, all stand construction companies and logistics providers are also currently obliged on occupational health and safety grounds to keep records that can subsequently be provided for the purposes of traceability (names of people, where they were assigned, how they can be reached).

Does everyone require a form of personal ID (identity card)?

Yes, all exhibitors, visitors, service providers, Koelnmesse employees and other partners receive a personalised ticket/access ID as part of the registration process.

In principle, all individuals are already obliged to also carry a form of personal identification (ID card, passport). This may be checked to ensure that the person named on the ticket is granted entry.

Does this mean that checks will be conducted at every door into the hall in the future?

During assembly and dismantling, checks are only conducted at the entrances to the grounds and not at the hall doors.

While trade fairs are underway, checks will be conducted on entry to and exit from the grounds (entrances, exhibitor access points to the halls).

Independent of this, random checks will be conducted on the grounds to ensure the necessary access authorisation is in place during assembly and dismantling, for example, and to confirm that the person named on the respective ticket/access ID has been granted entry.

Are transparent visors permitted instead of masks?

The Coronavirus Protection Ordinance imposes a general obligation to wear mouth-nose protection at trade fairs. Mouth-nose protection can be removed by seated individuals (e.g. at the trade fair stand, in food-service areas or outdoors, provided that minimum distancing is observed).

According to the latest medical findings, full or partial face shields are not a substitute for mouth-nose protection, as the shields only stop aerosols to a limited extent. This is why transparent visors are permissible only in verified individual cases (e.g. if a wearer has demonstrable health problems with mouth-nose protection or for product presentations requiring regular removal and putting-on of mouth-nose protection).

Is there a medical team that can be called upon to take care of anyone who develops symptoms?

We have a qualified medical team on site during trade fairs. They are also able to conduct (rapid) COVID-19 testing.

If an exhibitor becomes ill in a country pavilion, do the other exhibitors within that country pavilion have to quarantine?

In the event of a proven case of coronavirus amongst the exhibitors at a country pavilion, the points of contact and intensities of contact are checked by the Department of Health, with the support of the exhibitor (pavilion organiser) and Koelnmesse. The measures for registering visitors at the trade fair stand serve this same purpose.

Quarantining is a common response in the case of 1st-degree contact (e.g. cumulatively longer face-to-face contact with distancing and lasting longer than 15 minutes).

2nd-degree contact (falling short of the threshold shown above) are subject to case-by-case review and assessment by the Department of Health.

The quarantine obligation is thus directly influenced by compliance with general hygiene measures (particularly observance of minimum distancing and wearing of mouth-nose protection).

What happens if a person presents symptoms during the trade fair period (incl. set-up and dismantling)?

Koelnmesse has instituted a scenario that will be activated in the event of disease symptoms or even a confirmed case of COVID-19.

A key part of this scenario requires the individual to report to qualified medical service on the trade fair grounds at the exhibition centre and, if necessary, to take a (rapid) test for the coronavirus. Contact-tracing measures already in place will be activated if the test is positive.

In principle, it should also be noted that no one may enter the trade fair grounds presenting relevant symptoms of illness (particularly cold symptoms, diarrhoea, lack of a sense of taste).

2. Entry, COVID-19 testing

Is it possible to get a COVID-19 test on site?

Koelnmesse has not set up a walk-in test centre. However, it does intend to facilitate rapid COVID-19 testing on site in case a person on the grounds falls ill or an infection is suspected.

Do visitors/exhibitors have their temperature checked on entry?

No, Koelnmesse does not take the temperature of exhibitors or visitors on entry. In line with the general provisions of the CoronaSchVO, anybody suffering from any of the relevant symptoms (especially cold symptoms, diarrhoeal diseases and loss of taste) are forbidden from entering the trade fair ground. This is made clear at the entrances and as part of the online ticketing process.

3.1 trade fair stand - stand construction/hall planning

Is there a minimum stand size?

No, the minimum stand size is decided upon according to the trade fair. Please reach out to your contact in Sales.

Can a trade fair stand be accessible from all sides, or must there be an entrance and an exit?

Open stand designs are permissible in principle, if the numbers of persons, and hence compliance with minimum distancing, can be verified.

In the case of large or complex stands, Koelnmesse recommends setting up central entrances/exits in an effort to keep an overview of the maximum number of people at the trade fair stand. Tensa-barriers, for example, can be used to govern the flows of people entering and leaving a stand.

If exhibitors limit access to trade fair stands, what should be done to handle queuing? Who is in charge here, and how can this be solved?

Queues should be avoided, as the aisle areas between stands are usually areas designated purely for flows of people and have already been broadened by Koelnmesse in the planning of events.

Koelnmesse also recommends adding counters to stands for purposes of visitor processing. Accompanying measures can be used as well (e.g. scheduling appointments with customers).

Intervention may be necessary if Koelnmesse security staff notice queuing in aisles that restricts foot traffic.

How should I set up my exhibits?

The open spaces surrounding exhibits must be tailored to permit minimum distancing. There also need to be rules governing total number of people permitted at trade fair stands. As a first step, the general rule would be to permit numbers of people that would allow 4 sqm of freely accessible stand area per person.

Moreover, exhibits should not be placed directly at the boundary of the stand but instead somewhat recessed to keep people from congregating in the aisles between stands.

Can display cases be positioned at the edge of stands so that products can be seen from the aisle, or is this in breach of the requirements?

Product display cases should be kept in somewhat from the edge of stands (guide: 1–1.5 m) in case a crowd might form in the aisle due to the appeal of the products displayed.

Are meeting rooms permitted within exhibitor stands, and, if so, what are the conditions that apply?

Meeting rooms may be set up.

In terms of seating arrangements, it must be ensured that either general distancing rules (1.5 m) are observed when sitting or that different seating groups are created. Alternatively, shields (e.g. privacy screens on tables or screens between tables) can be used if distances are reduced (dimensions: above head height when sitting or standing at bistro tables).

If they are enclosed at the sides, meeting rooms may not be closed at the top. This ensures adequate ventilation.

Are plexiglass shields required on stand info counters?

Plexiglass shields should be installed if there may be regular breaches of the 1.5 m distancing requirement at the info counter. However, the info counter may also be designed to ensure that sufficient distancing is maintained.

Can Plexiglas panes be used, for example to reduce minimum spacing between seating groups? Can more people be admitted to a particular area if glass-pane partitions are used?

In terms of seating groups, it must be ensured that either general distancing rules (1.5 m) are observed when sitting or that different seating groups are created. Alternatively, shields (e.g. Plexiglas privacy screens) can be used if distances are reduced (dimensions: above head height when sitting or standing at bistro tables).

If they are enclosed at the sides, spaces may not be closed at the top. This ensures adequate ventilation.

3.2 Trade fair stands - social distancing requirements/number of people at stands

How many persons per square metre are permitted at a stand?

The number of persons allowed depends on the size and individual layout of the trade fair stand. Consequently, no blanket statements can be made in this regard; the number of persons allowed is essentially a function of the freely accessible stand area (stand view from above) and the number of seats available for additional seats/meeting areas.

As a first approach, the maximum number of persons can be estimated to be 1 person per 4 sqm of freely accessible stand area. Any available seating (e.g. at meeting tables) can be factored into this. This flat-rate approach can be higher in individual cases, however, if supplementary measures are taken (e.g. screens between seats).

Please note that suitable measures must be in place to govern the maximum number of people at the stand.

What minimum distances have to be maintained at stands?

Standard social distancing requirements apply at stands. Accordingly, it must be ensured that people can maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m from each other.

These required distances may be reduced by taking additional measures (e.g. using screens of a sufficient height and width, such as plexiglass shields, in seating areas).

3.3 Trade fair stands - registration/traceability

Are exhibitors required to ensure traceability or does Koelnmesse take care of this?

Exhibitors are responsible for traceability of the people at their stands. Koelnmesse assists them in this by providing an active coronavirus tracing system within the trade fair app.

Is it necessary to keep a record of visitors to a stand?

Registration of visitors to trade fair stands is required by law.

The exhibitor itself is responsible for ensuring that persons at its stand are traceable. Koelnmesse assists the exhibitor by providing an active system for coronavirus tracing within the trade fair app.

How are stand visitors registered?

As an exhibitor, you will be provided with a ‘Corona Scan’ function via the trade fair app for use in registering visitors to your stand. This app must be used to register entries to and exits from the trade fair stand.

Entry/exit for registration purposes: How do I organise this at the stand?

Visitors are registered using the additional ‘Corona Scan’ function within the trade fair app.

The stand operator must ensure that visitors scan the QR code specific to the trade fair stand when entering and leaving the stand.

Set-up of central entrances/exits is recommended in the case of larger or complex trade fair stands.

What happens if I make a mistake during registration or do not register people correctly? Will my stand be closed?

If the registration process at your stand is not followed correctly, you will be asked to correct the process and meet the legal requirements.

3.4 Trade fair stands - hygiene, disinfection, cleaning

What should be taken into account regarding use of the exhibits (e.g. furniture)?

The same rules apply here as apply for business premises. Personal hygiene has a special role to play here, as regular disinfection of upholstered furniture on display, for example, cannot be ensured. This is why disinfectant must be provided to visitors to trade fair stands.

Regular cleaning (e.g. every one to two hours) is also recommended in the case of surfaces that can be wiped and are subject to frequent touching. Meeting tables or tables where food is served must be wiped following each change of group.

How do I need to clean my surfaces, and how frequently?

We recommend that you clean surfaces that are subject to particularly high-frequency contact (e.g. meeting tables, tables where food/drinks are dispensed and consumed) with high frequency (e.g. after each use).

Surfaces with lower frequency of contact and that can be wiped down can be cleaned less often (e.g. cleaning every one to two hours).

Personal hygiene plays an important role in this regard. This is why disinfectant must be provided to visitors to and the personnel staffing trade fair stands.

Are exhibitors permitted to set up brochure displays at their stands from which visitors can help themselves?

We recommend having stand personnel give out brochures and not allowing self-service, as this would result in too many contact points.

What would you recommend that exhibitors use instead of brochure displays?

Stand personnel can give out brochures. Alternatively, you might wish to set up QR codes that could be scanned contactlessly and provide visitors with the option of downloading files.

Can business cards still be exchanged?

There is nothing preventing the exchange of business cards, as only two people are involved. This is acceptable as long as stand personnel ensure the necessary hand hygiene (e.g. by washing their hands regularly) and visitors are offered hand sanitiser at the stand.

What are the exhibitor’s obligations with regard to hygiene (hand disinfectant, etc.)?

The general hygiene requirements apply here (distancing rules, mouth-nose-protection). Visitors and stand staff must also have an opportunity to disinfect their hands (e.g. disinfectant dispenser).

We also recommend that you clean surfaces that can be wiped down are subject to particularly high-frequency contact (e.g. meeting tables, tables where food/drinks are dispensed and consumed) with high frequency (e.g. after each use).

Surfaces with lower frequency of contact and that can be wiped down can be cleaned less often (e.g. cleaning every one to two hours).

Personal hygiene plays an important role in this regard (with disinfectant provided at the trade fair stand for visitors and stand staff).

Do masks have to be worn at all times at the stand?

In the interest of protecting all trade fair attendees, all persons present at trade fairs are required to wear mouth-nose-protection. Mouth-nose protection can be removed when seated (e.g. at trade fair stands or in the food-service area) or when on the grounds outdoors, as long as distancing rules that apply to different persons (and groups) who have not come together.

At the entrance areas, our hostesses will provide mouth-nose protection to any visitors and exhibitors who have not brought their own protection along with them.

Other items (including disinfectants) are available for purchase from our Koelnmesse shops located on the trade fair grounds.

However, we recommend all exhibitors to equip themselves with these items at the exhibition stand on their own.

Are iPads permitted at stands?

Yes, iPads can be used.

We recommend providing hand sanitiser before and after use of these. Furthermore, iPads should be disinfected at regular intervals.

In view of the measures in place for COVID-19, can there be a common cloakroom in a country pavilion?

Shared cloakrooms are permitted.

Coronaviruses are primarily transmitted through the respiratory tract. Transmission by smear infections by way of surfaces that have been freshly contaminated with virus are theoretically conceivable. At this point in time, however, there is no reliable evidence of viral transmission through contact with contaminated objects or contaminated surfaces that would then lead to infection in humans.

This is why clothing retailers are not subject to separate rules for merchandise that has been displayed and tried on. It is pointed out that contact with the mouth, nose and eyes should be avoided when fitting garments over the head. This is of subordinate importance for items of clothing stored in cloakrooms, such as jackets and coats, and is the only precautionary measure.

What is the deadline for exhibitors to submit their COVID action plan?

Stand operators are not required to submit their hygiene measures to Koelnmesse.

The stand operator is only required to draw up a catalogue of hygiene measures for its trade fair stand and appoint a person responsible for implementing these measures at the stand. A general record can be kept of the measures in place.

Measures to be taken at the trade fair stand can be found in the Koelnmesse specifications for stand operators (Koelnmesse website). Please contact our sales staff with any questions you may have.

The exhibitor should keep the catalogue of hygiene measures on hand for reference in the event of any official inspections.

Stand cleaning: what does this cover on the part of Koelnmesse?

A specific cleaning process that meets coronavirus-related requirements has been developed for stands and exhibits. This will be offered in the Koelnmesse service shop as a product with many other add-ons relating to the coronavirus in the future.

If an exhibitor is/becomes ill during the trade fair: Will a team disinfect that exhibitor’s stand?

Koelnmesse has instituted a scenario that will be activated in the event of disease symptoms or even a confirmed case of COVID-19.

A key part of this scenario requires the individual to report to qualified medical service on the trade fair grounds at the exhibition centre and, if necessary, to take a (rapid) test for the coronavirus. Only in the event of positive confirmation would further measures become necessary (consisting particularly of tracing of the affected individual’s individual, personal contacts).

Coronaviruses are primarily transmitted through the respiratory tract. Transmission by smear infections by way of surfaces that have been freshly contaminated with virus are theoretically conceivable. At this point in time, however, there is no reliable evidence of viral transmission through contact with contaminated objects or contaminated surfaces that would then lead to infection in humans.

One can thus assume that what will be necessary is not disinfection of the entire stand but only cleaning of surfaces subject to frequent contact.

The Koelnmesse provider of cleaning services can be used for the cleaning measures involved.

Do products/exhibits always have to be disinfected following a visit?

The same rules apply here as apply for business premises. Personal hygiene has a special role to play here, as regular disinfection of e.g. products/exhibits on display cannot be ensured. This is why disinfectant must be provided to visitors to trade fair stands. Regular cleaning (e.g. every one to two hours) is also recommended in the case of surfaces that can be wiped and are subject to frequent touching. Meeting tables or tables where food is served must be wiped following each change of group.

3.5 trade fair stands - catering, food, drinks

May exhibitors serve food and/or drinks at the stand? / Is catering at the stand permitted? / May we continue to serve foods we have made ourselves to our guests at the stand?

Food sampling at the trade fair stand is permitted, either as part of a meeting at a table or as a presentation of samples to taste at the info counter. The products must be presented by stand staff in observance of all hygiene regulations. The taste samples distributed may be packaged or unpackaged. Even if the samples are wrapped, self-service (e.g. from a bowl containing several taste samples) is not permitted.

Exhibitors have permission to prepare food for their trade fair guests in their stand kitchen (no professional catering) as long as all of the requirements – e.g. those that also apply in the catering industry – are met.

In this connection, please also consider the hygiene requirements that apply to table surfaces (regular wiping with changes in guests).

Can drinking glasses be used as usual? /Is disposable tableware (cups, etc.) required? Can normal coffee be served in cups/mugs?

Yes, glasses can be used and normal coffee can be served. However, staff must wash/disinfect their hands regularly.

Can sweets be distributed to visitors? Can they also be displayed at stands? Do they have to be individually wrapped?

Samples with and without packaging are permitted. Self-service (e.g. from a tray with several offerings) is not permitted, even for sweets that are wrapped.

Is there anything above and beyond the ordinary that must be considered when making food (e.g. chocolates) at stands in these coronavirus times?

Show kitchens are permitted provided that the cooking/preparation takes place behind a screen. Stand personnel are permitted to offer the prepared food to visitors of the demo.

As per 14 October 2020