French event professionals give guarded welcome to government’s timetable for reopening

The French union for events trades, UNIMEV has welcomed the government’s issuing of a timetable for the re-opening of the country and, in particular, the new timetable for the running of tradeshows and business events again:

President Macron has announced a phased reopening of society from 19 May and the first phase of the events sector’s reopening from 9 June. There is an initial limit of 5,000 attendees who must possess a health pass.

Phase 2, beginning on 30 June, allows for the holding of “any event” that is bringing together more than 1,000 people, provided all is good with the local health situation in the venues and that social distancing is maintained and health passes are in order.

UNIMEV has been actively lobbying government in recent weeks and has said the sector desperately needed visibility, bearing in mind the long lead in time for major events. The association hopes that some normality will be returned by September if the timetable is adhered to.

UNIMEV President Olivier Roux, co-founder & GL events vice-president said: “UNIMEV welcomes this announcement which finally sheds gives us some light ahead. French industry professionals are desperate to return to the exhibitions industry after a ban of more than 14 months and will be able to return to a working regime.  For all those who need these meetings to innovate, relaunch their activity, bringing together their stakeholders, this decision finally allows them to look to the future. But this move must be supplemented by strong guarantees for the sector because the survival of the sector is at stake.”

The union also noted that in many competitor countries event activity has already resumed, such as in China and the United States. “Our European neighbours are also in the process of doing so with a precise timetable (England, Spain, Italy). The June events will therefore serve as a showcase for the ‘back-to-school' for events and will be scrutinised by international competitors. It is therefore vital that the timetable is respected.

“This relaxing of restrictions must therefore be the last because our sector is in great pain. We must put an end to the ‘stop and go’. The announced dates must be adhered to!”

UNIMEV also said it was hoping for clarification on the precise regulations for reopening and continued with its call for state aid to the sector during any transitional period between reopening and the end of the year, as it predicted the return of regional, national or international clientele would only be gradual.