Automation and Industry 4.0 Fair SPS shall take place - with mask obligation

Sylke Schulz-Metzner: „Die SPS IPC Drives ist die führende Messe zur elektrischen Auto­matisierung.“
Sylke Schulz-Metzner, Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH: "It was with a heavy heart that we decided to cancel the exhibitors' evening this time."

In all probability, the SPS Smart Production Solutions trade fair will take place in the planned period from 24 to 26 November 2020 - with a detailed health protection and hygiene concept based on the specifications of the responsible Bavarian state government.

As of September 1, trade fairs in Bavaria may again be held under certain conditions - and Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH as organizer of the automation and industry 4.0 trade fair SPS has declared that it will do what is permitted. "We have a protection and hygiene concept that makes a trade fair like SPS feasible under the conditions of the pandemic that are foreseeable today," explains Sylke Schulz-Metzner, Vice President of Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

For example, in all indoor areas, i.e. exhibition halls, conference rooms, restaurants, sanitary facilities, the intermediate areas and foyers, mouth-and-nose protection is to be mandatory and a minimum distance of 1.50 m is to be maintained; outdoors, i.e. in the inner courtyards, the obligation to wear masks applies only if the minimum distance cannot be maintained. The so-called shields are not considered to be mouth-nose masks and are therefore not permitted. All surfaces that are frequently touched by trade fair participants, i.e. door handles, water taps, handrails or information counters, are cleaned and disinfected at short intervals, and the cleaning intervals are also otherwise shortened. Disinfectant dispensers should be available at many points on the exhibition grounds. In order to reduce the inevitable number of contacts, there will be no ticket counters on site; visitors will have to register online, also to ensure that the maximum number of participants allowed is not exhausted.

"There is a maximum number of about 20,000 visitors per day," says Sylke Schulz-Metzner, explaining the permitted number of visitors. However, there should be no extra restrictions for the individual halls. Waiting areas are to be designated in each hall in order to be able to maintain the minimum distance in the aisles or at certain stands in the event of heavy congestion; they will enable stand personnel to pick up visitors as soon as the crush on the stand in question has subsided.

This year, the Exhibitor Evening and stand parties with more people than the respective stand personnel must be cancelled. "It is simply not possible to maintain the minimum distance at the Exhibitors' Evening and at stand parties, given the atmosphere that is created there in the evening," says Sylke Schulz-Metzner, explaining this step, which she took "with a heavy heart". But the trade fair forums do take place - on a larger area and with a limited number of participants. There can also be presentations on the stands - they must be well integrated into the stands to avoid congestion in the aisles; there must also be enough space on the stands to maintain the minimum distance.

When it comes to minimum distances, public transport is of course problematic at trade fair times. "We are in talks with NürnbergMesse and the Nürnberg transport association to find appropriate solutions, i.e.: route control, higher frequency and restriction of the number of people per carriage and on the platforms - with personnel who ensure that congestion and overcrowded carriages are avoided," emphasizes Sylke Schulz-Metzner. "However, there are plenty of parking spaces available at the exhibition grounds, and there are shuttle buses from more distant entrances to the exhibition halls, in which, in turn, care is taken to ensure that the rules of distance are observed.

Persons with symptoms of respiratory disease are not permitted to enter the exhibition grounds, nor are persons who are subject to quarantine rules or who have had contact with Covid-19 patients during the period of time when there is a risk of infection. In the event of symptoms indicating a Covid-19 infection, the medical service on the exhibition grounds should be informed - preferably by telephone - and the necessary steps taken.

Parallel to the presence exhibition, there will be an online platform so that interested parties who are subject to travel restrictions, for example, can also obtain information. The platform will be available for matchmaking and for live streaming of lectures or press conferences. Registration on the platform will be free of charge for exhibitors' employees.

Despite the uncertainty about the further development of the coronavirus pandemic, it is becoming apparent that the SPS will be almost as large as in previous years: "At the moment it is about 10 percent below the previous year's area," states Sylke Schulz-Metzner. "There have been few cancellations so far, and all major exhibitors are back again."

More detailed information on the protection and hygiene concept of the SPS 2020 can be found at https://sps.mesago.com.