COVID-19 Update (19 May 2020)
Since our last COVID19 update, we have seen the restrictions start to lift across the country in very small and measured ways.
We have had the Prime Minister issue the Federal Government National Roadmap and Framework and then the States and Territories follow with their approaches. We are starting to see some controlled social interaction come back into our lives which is certainly uplifting.
From a business perspective, it is still challenging without a clear timeline for when we can once again safely deliver business events on a scale larger than 100 people and what that will look like. However MEA is actively working with our industry colleagues as members of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), on a range of initiatives designed to address the framework we need for our pathway to recovery and we are making some positive progress.
We shared an industry update from BECA’s Independent Chair, Dr Vanessa Findlay, on the range of initiatives underway to address the framework we need towards our recovery, some of which included:
COVIDSafe Guidelines and SubCommittee
MEA Board Member Beverley Williamson is part of the BECA Subcommittee who delivered a set of strategic principles to Government designed to instil confidence in how our industry can adhere to hygiene and safety measures to enable restrictions to be lifted. The guidelines focused on five key areas covering advice on managing a business event during the planning, the event onsite and following the event. The document will be updated and reviewed in response to the health advice and as the industry gains greater insights into best practice safety and hygiene regimes but it is considered a valuable advice driven by industry leaders to our community and our government.
Engagement with the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit
Ahead of the National Cabinet establishing the processes of easing restrictions, BECA was contacted by the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office for advice on how the business events industry was placed to manage the rollback. The Baord and Council Members of BECA spoke with their representatives to reassure them the business events industry will be a position to safely restart once restrictions are lifted based on:
- Establishment of Safety and Hygiene guidelines for the industry.
- The control measures we are able to implement at business events, which separate the industry from other general mass gathering.
- Business events industry customers and clients have their own safety and hygiene standards for employees which will support baseline regulations set by the Government.
The messaging was clear that business events should be treated differently to a mass gatherings such as a football match or concert because of the control measures we can implement to keep our guests and our own people safe. This differentiation is an important element for consideration and we are starting to see this same approach taken in other countries too.
Discussion was also held about the nature of events and the lead time required for planning. Once the restrictions are lifted, there will be some lag time before an event can get underway. And of course we are also reliant on other parts of the visitor economy restarting too such as airlines.
Response and Recovery Framework
The major work being undertaken by BECA is the Response and Recovery Framework submission to guide the Federal Government in their consideration of our industry and our needs, understanding the nature of our sector and the planning timeframes we operate within. The next stages of the submission are underway in consultation with Minister Birmingham’s office and Austrade.
In addition our involvement with BECA, the MEA Board is also engaging with State Governments and authorities to look at how we can reignite our industry and support our members throughout this time. We are all keen to return to business and are obviously guided by the Government restrictions and health and safety guidelines to ensure this is done correctly to protect our people, our clients and their stakeholders. We will continue to keep you up to date with any information as it becomes available.
The Board is also pleased we will be able to bring our industry together on Friday 29 May for the online presentation of the MEALIVE Awards. This is great opportunity to shine the spotlight on companies and individuals who have demonstrated their creativity, their passion and professionalism in delivering outstanding events. Join us to toast our colleagues and indeed our industry.
Make sure you join us too for our weekly webinar series designed to ensure you and your people are future fit to deliver outstanding events when we are able to. The topics are designed very much around what you will need now and into the future for your success.
MEA Express will continue to keep you up to date with what is happening in MEA and how we can support you during this time. Your feedback is also welcomed at any time.
Membership bodies are a valued component of any industry and none more so than in the times of adversity. MEA is here to support you and we look to your support too of these initiatives to keep our industry strong and connected over this time.
Kate Smith Robyn Johnson
Chair of MEA Board Chief Executive Officer