Dental Tribune International

IDS 2021: Organisers reveal COVID-19 safety measures

By Jeremy Booth, DTI
July 21, 2020

COLOGNE, Germany: Trade fairs are all about face-to-face contact. The organisers of the International Dental Show (IDS) are confident that next year’s event will be able to take place, and they have revealed the basic principles behind a host of measures that they say will make networking and personal interaction at the event as safe and successful as possible.

More than 2,300 companies exhibited at IDS 2019, and around 160,000 visitors travelled from 166 countries to attend the event. In the current health crisis, the sheer scale and logistics of the show pose serious questions about the maintenance of physical distancing and the health risks that are now associated with basic interpersonal contact.

In the past few months, we developed a comprehensive concept for restarting trade fairs in Cologne based on extensive processes and close cooperation with all the relevant authorities,” commented Oliver Frese, chief operating officer of Koelnmesse. The joint press release from the Association of the German Dental Industry (VDDI) and its business enterprise, the Society for the Advancement of the Dental Industry (GFDI), explained that Koelnmesse’s #B-SAFE4business health measures are grouped into the four sections: SHOW SAFE, MEET SAFE, STAY SAFE and VISIT SAFE.

The measures will regulate interaction at the trade fair by providing ample space for spreading large numbers of participants out safely throughout the exhibition halls, in which a digital signage system will enhance communication. Stands will be allotted more floor space so that the number of visitors at individual stands will not need to be limited, provided that a minimum distance of 1.5 m can be maintained. The distribution of trade fair participants and the flow of visitors will be monitored and, if necessary, regulated using technical solutions. Visitors will only be able to purchase tickets online so that the organisers can ensure traceability of all participants.

Koelnmesse said that it would review its safety concept on a regular basis and adapt it to changing conditions.

The organisers regard the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic as an opportunity to rethink trade fair philosophies, but remain adamant that face-to-face encounters are essential for maintaining existing contacts and developing new business opportunities. “Only then can joint solutions for crisis management be developed, existing business relationships secured and new business contacts forged. IDS 2021 is therefore designed as an open forum in order to facilitate precisely this form of exchange across borders for the international dental industry,” they explained.

IDS registrations rolling in despite SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Mark Stephen Pace of the VDDI said that dental companies who have registered for IDS 2021 were “looking to the future and to finding ways to overcome the crisis”. (Image: VDDI)

Members of the VDDI met in Cologne on 2 July, and Chairman of the Board Mark Stephen Pace told them that more than half of the total number of 2019 registrations had already been received. In a note to the press, he commented: “Rather than being paralysed by circumstances, the more than 1,300 registered manufacturers are looking to the future and to finding ways to overcome the crisis. For them, participation in IDS 2021 is the opportunity to make a fresh start within the industry.”

The VDDI said that Koelnmesse and the GFDI will take additional steps to make the IDS even more attractive for visitors and exhibitors, such as using bespoke digital tools to connect visitor groups.

The VDDI said that it had set a deadline of early October for a critical reassessment of the situation and the measures in place. It stated, “Until then, all registered and tentative IDS exhibitors will have an opportunity to perform and submit their own risk assessments and to evaluate the situation themselves.”

IDS 2021 is scheduled to take place from 9-13 March next year in the western German city of Cologne.

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