This Just In

Safety – Key to Reopening Trade Shows

Andrea Doyle, Senior News Editor

Safety is a primal instinct, Rick Simon, Founder, United Services Companies, Trade Show Executive‘s Chairman, and GBAC Advisor said during a session he led as part of IAEE Expo! Expo! that focused on the importance of health and safety as the key to reopening trade shows.

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) has created standardized cleaning and disinfection protocols being adopted by facilities and contractors across the country and around the world. In addition to these new “gold-standard” guidelines, new technology is aiding show and facility management in their quest for establishing cleaner, safer events.

“As trade show and live events industry professionals, we must not only make people safe but make them feel safe,” Simon said. “Otherwise, they’ll stay home. GBAC can assist in creating a safe environment, emotionally and physically.” GBAC is a seal of approval, offering groups peace of mind.

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) held Oct. 28-Nov. 1 had protocols in place that not only made people feel safe but made them safe, Simon explained. The first major trade show event in America since the pandemic started, FLIBS put health and safety first.

Related: World’s Largest Boat Show Opens in Fort Lauderdale; Set to Emerge Stronger and Safer 

Not only were the heightened GBAC preventive measures in place, but so was AllSecure, a program developed by Informa Markets, the show producer.  “Working with Informa management, who developed the AllSecure plan based on GBAC, we can mitigate the risks of today’s illness not only for FLIBS but for any event,” Simon said. “Add to the fact that United is providing thermal imaging cameras to monitor people’s temperature as they enter; nightly disinfection of the entire property; hand sanitizer provided in abundance; everyone required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing measures; and most of the event was outdoors in the sunlight; it was about as safe as you can be.”

Of those who were scanned by the thermal imaging cameras, approximately one percent required secondary screening, Simon added. “Have to factor in the Florida sun. We had a seating area set up with cold water and fans. After a few minutes, we retook their temperatures. We had tens of thousands of people attend and didn’t have to reject one person for an elevated temperature.”

As the COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out and testing becomes more commonplace, COVID-19 will eventually be mitigated. “No matter what, GBAC measures are here to stay. It’s not just a one-time certification where you get a plaque and move on,” Simon says.

Patricia Olinger, executive director, GBAC, adds, “With international scientists onboard and thousands of member companies in 82 countries, GBAC has worldwide representation and is a leader in the control of infectious diseases.” This program ensures facilities use best practices to limit future outbreaks, empowers cleaning staff to do their jobs safely and effectively, and gives all greater peace of mind, imperative to get the trade show industry prospering once again.

Reach Rick Simon at (800) 248-8558 or


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