Considering Europe? Here are the Latest Gathering Stats

Andrea Doyle, Senior News Editor
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With Covid-19 infection rates continuing to soar in parts of Europe, travel restrictions and quarantine measures change often and they change fast. While we have made every effort to ensure accurate and timely information, the situation is highly fluid, and we urge you to double check the government sites for any country you plan to visit. You can also check UFI’s Exhibition Industry Market Status Tracker.

 

Austria

Even in such historic places, such as Vienna’s Imperial Palace, much is currently in flux. Venues find themselves faced with dozens of requirements and constantly changing stipulations. However, rapid testing has changed the face of things, enabling organizers to discover infection cases early, often within half an hour to an hour, and hybrid meetings are becoming the new norm.

All arriving passengers to Austria will now have their body temperature checked automatically by thermal imaging cameras. If a high temperature is recorded, a public health officer will perform a personal exam, ask for details about your trip and any symptoms, and take further steps as required. A molecular COVID-19 PCR test can also be carried out at the airport with results in just a few hours.

Since August 1, meetings for up to 500 participants are permitted in enclosed spaces, and up to 750 participants in outdoor spaces. Also, meetings with assigned and labeled seating are permitted for up to 1,000 participants in enclosed spaces and up to 1,250 participants in outdoor spaces, subject to approval by the district authority responsible for the location of the venue. And starting September 1, Austria will allow for events with up to 5,000 people indoors and up to 10,000 people outdoors.

Entry from a country with a stable COVID-19 situation has no restrictions. If an attendee has been in other countries within the last 10 days, entry requires either a medical certificate confirming a negative PCR test (performed within 72 hours prior to entry), or undergoing a 10-day (home) quarantine. Accommodation confirmation must be presented and individuals are responsible for any associated quarantine-related costs. Quarantine can be terminated if a PCR test performed during the period is negative.

 

Belgium

If you plan to travel to Belgium or return to Belgium after a stay abroad, you are required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before your arrival in Belgium.  This form has to be completed by all persons traveling to Belgium by airplane or boat, and all other persons traveling to Belgium, unless they stay for less than 48 hours in Belgium or they return following a stay no longer than 48 hours abroad.

Belgium reopened its borders to visitors from the European Union, including the United Kingdom, and the four other Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway). However, each country can decide whether or not to open its borders. To find out about the situation in your destination country, consult the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

One-off events will be limited to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors (unless an exception has been granted beforehand). Banquets and receptions will resume with a maximum of 10 people.

All of these events resume in compliance with health and safety rules and will be organized according to certain conditions which are set out in protocols. Wearing a mask is compulsory.

 

France

From August 15, gatherings including concerts, shows, festivals and salons of more than 5,000 people will be permitted once again with some conditions. From August 15 to 31, events of this size will still need prior prefectural approval to go ahead. From September 1, this approval will no longer be required.

While the lockdown has been almost entirely lifted in most of France, the epidemic remains front and center, and restrictions are highly fluid and subject to sudden changes.

There are no restrictions for travel to Metropolitan France from the European space (European Union Member States, United Kingdom, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marina, Switzerland, Vatican) and the following countries: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.

Bars, restaurants, shops and markets are open, but with adapted measures.

Travel to France from outside the European zone remains restricted. You may be asked to respect a quarantine period on arrival.

While you may travel freely within France once you are there, masks are mandatory on all public transportation.

 

Related. Europe’s Ever-changing Trade Show Landscape in a COVID-19 World 

 

Germany

Travel to Germany depends on which country the person travelling has come from, not on their nationality. The German government acted swiftly to exclude exhibitions from the category of “mass gatherings”, allowing 16 German states to welcome back trade shows with strict health and safety protocols. Large events — including concerts, spectator sports and festivals — remain banned until at least the end of October.

Since June, Germany has lifted its border restrictions for travelers coming from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom. However, Germany has extended, until August 31, its warnings on travelling outside the EU. There is unrestricted travel to Germany from the following third countries with low rates of infection: Australia, Georgia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Beginning August 8, travelers returning to Germany from high-risk areas are required to take a COVID-19 test, the cost is covered by the German government. Those who refuse could face fines of up to €25,000.

In theory, travelers entering Germany from the United States must spend 14 days in home quarantine immediately upon arrival. In addition, a mandatory COVID19 test must be conducted within 14 days after arrival. However, the obligation to go into quarantine — depending on the regulations in the land of destination — may be waived if proof that no COVID19 infection is present can be provided by a test carried out no more than 48 hours before entry, or after entry.

The German government has been easing lockdown measures since late April but social-distancing rules remain firmly in place, as does a requirement to wear masks in shops and on public transit.

Groups of up to 500 persons can meet for indoor events, whether private or public. On September 1, that number will increase to 750 and up to 1,000 on October 1. Up to 1,000 can gather for outdoor events. Starting September 1, that number increases up to 5,000 persons. Events with over 5,000 attendees are prohibited through October 24.

In all cases, social distancing and hygiene rules must be strictly adhered to.

Event organizers must create an attendance list with the full contact information for all participants.

The first free coronavirus tests are now available for returning passengers at three German airports: Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Dortmund. Those that enter Germany must commit to self-quarantine for 14 days or take the test. This is still new; please stay tuned for further developments.

Voluntary tests also began for travelers from high-risk areas at Berlin’s central bus station (ZOB) on August 3.

The BVG, Berlin’s transit authority, imposes fines starting at 50 euros for people who don’t cover their noses and mouths on subways, buses and trams. Masks are also required at airports and train stations.

 

Related.Strong Advocacy Leads Way to European Countries Opening Exhibitions; Many without Restrictions

 

Italy

The numbers don’t lie. According to a recent study conducted by Università Cattolica’s Graduate School of Economics and International Relations, 69.7% of conferences and events have been canceled, 16.9% deferred until 2021 and only 13.4% postponed to a date later this year.

While Italy is open to EU visitors, travel restrictions remain in place for visitors from most countries outside Europe, including the U.S. Travelers from Colombia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo have been recently been added to the banned list.

Since August 12, travelers to Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain must be tested for Covid-19 as concern grows over new infections amid a recent surge of Corona-virus cases in these countries. The list of banned countries changes frequently; please check for the latest news.

Italy’s airports are now checking the body temperature of all arriving passengers.

Italy has been easing lockdown measures since mid-May. Cafés, bars, pubs, restaurants, patisseries and other food and beverage establishments are now open with restrictions on the number of customers and social distancing rules must be followed. Gathering of people in public places is still forbidden and the wearing of masks is obligatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport, including airplanes.

 

The Netherlands

Since August 6, the Netherlands has seen a marked uptick in Covid-19 infections and has instituted a tightening of measures to keep the infection out. Events involving large groups of people should be held in hospitality venues where there is ample amount of space and guests have an assigned seat, can register their contact details and confirm they have no symptoms. Guests must observe social distancing guidelines and physical contact should be avoided. The government has asked venues to hire companies and restaurants, bar and café owners and managers to ensure compliance of all rules, and there will be a greater focus on enforcement as well.

All passengers aged 13 and above travelling to and from Dutch airports are required to fill out a Health Screening Form provided by the airline you are flying with. You must fill-in and sign the form prior to your flight. If you report symptoms on the form that suggest you may have COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board the plane.

Foreign travelers from countries where the health risks are similar to or lower than in the Netherlands can enter the Netherlands, but everyone must follow local rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As of August 13, the Netherlands has reinstated the entry ban for citizens of Morocco.

Travelers arriving in the Netherlands from certain countries and regions are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 10 days, even if you do not have any symptoms or if you have tested negative for COVID-19.

As of August 13, travelers returning from coronavirus hotspots can get tested for an infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at Schiphol Airport with other locations following. Testing is not mandatory, but up to 5,000 travelers per day can get tested even if they do not have any symptoms of the respiratory disease Covid-19.

 

Switzerland

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, on August 13 Switzerland announced that it was extending the ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 by one month until October 1.

All event organizers and businesses must plan and implement the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures. HotellerieSuisse and the Expo Event Swiss LiveCom Association have drawn up specific safety protocols and guidelines to be adopted when holding business events (meetings, conventions, seminars, conferences, etc.) in hotels, convention centers and other locations.

All travelers entering Switzerland from countries or regions that are defined as Covid risk areas must quarantine for 10 days. The Federal Office of Public Health keeps a list of countries concerned, which is updated regularly.

As of August 8, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain (with the exception of the Balearic and Canary Islands) are defined as Covid-19 risk areas.

While face masks have been mandatory on trains, trams and buses since July 6, the government decided they must be worn on all flights beginning August 15. “The measure concerns all scheduled and charter flights taking off from or landing in Switzerland, regardless of airline,” the government said.

 

Spain

Just seven weeks after bringing its first coronavirus wave under control, Covid-19 infections have surged since the first week of July. The spike has led a growing list of countries to impose restrictions on travel to Spain, which currently has the highest number in Western Europe and 11th highest in the world.

On August 14, Spanish authorities ordered nightclubs to close and imposed a ban on smoking in outdoor public areas throughout the country. The government also advised against gatherings of more than ten people, and specifically urged young people to avoid meeting outdoors to drink alcohol.

Nonetheless, Spain has opened its borders with all EU member states and countries in the Schengen area as well as Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

The Government has set up a series of checks for travelers entering Spain, including temperature checks (which must be below 37.5 degrees Celsius) for all passengers arriving by air or sea transport. All visitors are required to fill in an online public health form at www.spth.gob.es, or using the free app SPAIN TRAVEL HEALTH (SpTH). After completing the form, passengers will obtain a QR code which they must present on arrival in Spain.

Everybody aged 6 or over must wear a mask in all public spaces and on public transport, even when social distancing can be observed, with the exception of the Canary Islands.

While Spain has gradually reopened most restaurants, bars and other tourist locations, strict social distancing and hygiene must be observed in all cases and may cause delays in receiving service due to limited seating and numbers of visitors allowed on premises.

 

United Kingdom

The U.K. has just reintroduced quarantine restrictions for people entering the U.K. from Croatia, Austria, Trinidad and Tobago and travelers from Switzerland and Scotland will be required to self-isolate. Those arriving from several other countries, including France and Spain, have also been told to self-isolate on arrival, although people coming from Portugal no longer have to quarantine.

But quarantine restrictions have been reapplied to several countries since then. The decision is triggered when a country’s rate of infection exceeds 20 cases per 100,000 people over seven days. See here for the most current U.K. related quarantine guidelines.

Since August 1, meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing is maintained and the venue demonstrates that it strictly adheres to the COVID-19 guidelines. In addition, trade shows, large meetings and conferences will return October 1, subject to successful pilot events taking place in August and the continued progress in reducing COVID-19 cases.