Stephanie Lynch-Habib, CMO at the GSMA, expressed a desire to demonstrate to the world that the mobile ecosystem can make a comeback and convene at MWC 2021 Barcelona in June, as the organisation revealed its plan to ensure health and safety at the event.
Speaking to Mobile World Live ahead of the release of the GSMA’s wide-ranging health and safety plan, dubbed Committed Community, Lynch-Habib said it was the right time to show the world what can be done and potentially inspire more confidence in the industry that in-person events can make a return in the Covid-19 (coronavirus) era.
Lynch-Habib believes people look at MWC and its organisers as the “north star of mass events”, and explained the GSMA was confident its Barcelona event can be held in a safe way following a successful physical MWC Shanghai last month.
She also reiterated a “pent-up demand” across the community to convene again in person, with 80 per cent of its top 100 customers making a three-year commitment to future editions of MWC events.
Mobile World Live previously revealed that the GSMA aims for up to 50,000 people to attend.
In a statement, the GSMA shared details of Committed Community, a health and safety plan developed in coordination with, and approved, by the Catalan health authorities responsible for governing MWC21, in addition to Catalonian authorities and an extensive list of partners.
The GSMA explained the plan will impact everyone involved with the event and is designed to create a safe environment for staff, workers, exhibitors, visitors, suppliers, partners and the local community.
It is taking what it terms a Check In To Get In approach, with attendees needing to download the event’s My MWC app. This will act as a digital badge which will activate and allow for entrance to the event once registration, self-declaration and testing is completed.
The GSMA’s plan includes frequent testing, with all participants required to produce a valid negative rapid test to access the venue. The test must be repeated every 72 hours, with participants notified through the My MWC app of upcoming expiration. Multiple testing centres will be available to provide rapid testing.
Other initiatives outlined by the GSMA include contact tracing, touchless environments, revamped catering, occupancy monitoring, one-way traffic flows, upgrades to facility infrastructure and increased medical staff numbers.
Attendees will be expected to complete a daily health questionnaire in the My MWC app and make regular use of the 1,300 disinfectant dispensers placed around the venue, as well as wear a FFP2 (Filtering Facepiece Respirators) mask and adhere to social distancing requirements.
The plan builds on the Protocol of Safety and Prevention against Covid-19, currently being implemented by the venue Fira de Barcelona.
Lynch-Habib added the plan could be altered at any time in response to an ever-evolving Covid-19 situation, and the company was open to talking with clients about various options.
The GSMA acknowledged the event’s audience will be a mix of physical and virtual attendees, and is planning for a hybrid show.
The plan does not count on vaccinations being at a specific level, Lynch-Habib explained, but added the company was confident its filtered testing plan, coupled with “very rigorous” health and safety measures, would make it safe to push ahead with the event.
“We’re really committed to ensuring that the MWC safety experience is filtered throughout the journey, right from the moment that one boards a flight or a bus or a train or a car, to the moment they depart Barcelona,” she added.
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