Trade Shows Must Go On, But with Strict Sanitary Controls for Covid

Trade shows began to return to their traditional in-person format this year after more than a year of recess and virtual meetings due to the Covid pandemic. However, due to the aggressive Delta variant that is responsible for a rapid increase in virus infections throughout the country, event organizers have decided to strengthen health control measures for the safety of participants.

One of the trade shows expected to attract thousands of visitors is the NGA Show, organized by the National Grocers Association, which represents the independent grocery industry in the United States. Recognizing the importance of the show being held in person, they are also well aware that they must offer optimal sanitary safety conditions for everyone’s peace of mind.

Therefore, the organizers of the NGA Show announced, in a statement, the new safety measures for Covid that will be taken to attend the trade show to be held in Las Vegas, September 19-21.

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” As we look ahead to the 2021 NGA Show, we will continue that leadership by implementing additional protocols to help ensure we will have one of the most successful NGA Shows yet. We thank you all for your support and appreciate those who have reached out to provide us with feedback as we prepare to get back in person.

NGA’s Board of Directors recently unanimously approved the following requirements that will be in effect for the 2021 NGA Show:

  • Face coverings, currently mandated by Las Vegas government, will be required indoors for all participants and vendors. Sufficient face masks will be available to hand out to participants, but you are encouraged to wear one with your company branding.
  • All participants, staff and vendors must show proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or show a negative COVID test taken no more than 72 hours from the event. Testing services will be available on site.
  • Paris / Bally’s has instituted extensive cleaning and sanitation protocols throughout our event, along with numerous hand sanitizing stations.
  • Most importantly: If you feel sick, please do not attend any events.

NGA Show leadership expressed satisfaction “with the continued strong registrations and hotel bookings, along with a sold-out EXPO floor. Independent grocers are excited to come together again in person to network, learn and invest in services, products, and technology to grow their businesses.”

The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is also looking forward to the in-person reunion of the fresh produce industry at the Fresh Summit in New Orleans, Oct. 28-30.

According to Cathy Burns, CEO of the PMA, “we are working closely with health, government, facility, and other authorities to meet and exceed public health and safety protocols.”

Burns emphasized that “conditions are evolving, and we are monitoring local and federal resources on a daily basis to inform our onsite practices and procedures. The following information is based on current facility and local guidelines and may not reflect the Covid requirements or recommendations that will be in place in October 2021.”

Physical Distancing

  • Social distancing is no longer required for vaccinated individuals; unvaccinated individuals should still practice social distancing.
  • General sessions, meeting rooms and other higher traffic areas will maintain some social distance standards.
  • The expo floor layout features increased aisle space to control crowd density for safe, optimal personal spacing.
  • Industry guidelines recommend that no more than three people occupy each 100 square feet of space. If all Covid guidelines from the center are lifted by October, PMA will still continue to follow crowd density calculations that ensure enough overall space for all guests to be 6’ apart but will leave it up to exhibitors to choose their personal comfort level of in-booth spacing.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Safety protocols regarding masks or other Personal Protective Equipment will be finalized closer to the event date and will support facility, local and national public health guidelines and recommendations.
  • Plexiglass shields will be installed at the registration counters and other service desks.
  • Up-to-date information on the current requirements in New Orleans.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing will remain increased in all public spaces with an emphasis on frequent contact surfaces including countertops, escalators, elevators, elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms, stair and escalator handrails, dining surfaces, and all seating areas and tables.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the event. These touchless sanitizer dispensers will be placed at key contact areas such as reception areas, entrances, stairs, elevators and escalators in public spaces.
  • Exhibitors serving/preparing samples should have hand washing stations in the booth and regularly clean tables/surfaces.

Food and Beverage

  • Service will continue to be provided in a minimal contact manner.
  • In-booth cooking/food preparation is permitted behind a plexiglass shield. Anyone serving or preparing samples will need to wear a mask and gloves. Self-serve is highly discouraged.
  • Exhibitors are encouraged but not required to prepackage samples or place them in a sealed container so unvaccinated attendees can safety transport it to a designated eating area.
  • There will be designated areas for eating where masks may be removed temporarily.