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Fresh Guidelines by GOM: COVID Negative Report a must to participate in Exhibitions


By M Q Syed, TFT Editor

Organisers not following Guidelines shall be booked under provisions of the Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act 2005.

The Government of Maharahstra has issued discouraging and confusing guidelines for B2B Exhibitions which will actually halt many Exhibitions scheduled in coming months in the state, after almost twelve months of no B2B Exhibition activity due to Pandemic.

Maharashtra Government has stated that the Covid Negative report is a must to participate in Exhibitions, along with other discouraging and impractical guidelines.

The notification issued through State’s Industries, Energy and Labour department, said that all Service Providers, Visitors, Exhibitors and Organisers should mandatorily produce, Antigen or RT- PCR Covid Negative Report done seventy two hours prior to entering an Exhibition. 

The Said SOP is perhaps the result of no representation to the State Government by any Industry Body, as practically organizing Exhibitions with such orders will not be a possibility.

The department has issued an SOP mandating Business to Business Exhibition stakeholders to compulsorily go for Covid Test from the Government Authorised Laboratories.

The Order further say that the organisers are advised not to promote their Exhibitions in the Covid affected areas.

The concerned officer told TFT that the organisers needs to also maintain the databases of every visitor visiting the Exhibition and also information of them for any traceability situation. He further said “The organizer should activate Technology Enabled Tracking Machines for all Exhibitors and site visitors visiting to the respective Exhibitions.”

Further, B2B Exhibitions will be allowed to be organized only outside the containment zones and the Visitors, Exhibitors and Service Providers coming from containment Zones shall not be permitted to enter the Exhibition Venues.

While TFT is seeking Industry inputs on the said Orders. The subsequent questions remains to be answered by the Government of Maharashtra:

  1. How would an organizer know while announcing an Exhibition if the venue where his exhibition is to be held remains in ‘Non Containment Zone’ during the Exhibition as there could be a possible change of Containment zones between announcement and organizing of the exhibition. 
  2. How can an Exhibition Organiser guarantee that his Exhibition is promoted best inside the geography which isn’t always affected by COVID 19. There may be manipulated forwards of the said promotions on the Social Media. Also, there are no geography centric Print Media, Radio and TV Ads options available for promotion of the said event.
  3. There are no clear guidelines on the number of the visitors and exhibitors permitted in an exhibition, however, the onus lies on the organizer to monitor the visitors and keep the visits to a moderate level.
  4. How would an organizer ensure that the Exhibitor, Visitor, Service Provider is from a containment or a non containment Zone.