COVID-19 developments impact industry event schedule

Due to the ongoing developments of coronavirus, a number of optical events have been postponed or cancelled

Mido exhibitors

With continuing concerns surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) and as the number of reported cases has exceeded 100,000 in 100 countries, several industry events have been postponed or cancelled.

This week, organisers of Vision Expo East, which was due to be held on 26–29 March, announced that the show will now be consolidated with its September event; Vision Expo West in Las Vegas.

Describing the move as a “difficult decision” for the organisation, The Vision Council confirmed the decision was taken based on public health reports and guidance, as well as out of respect for the “exhibitors and attendees who would not be able to attend Vision Expo East due to travel restrictions.”

The event organisers confirmed plans to develop virtual meetings between contracted exhibitors and pre-registered attendees throughout March.

Vision Expo will also work to create customised services for participants in order to maximise outcomes at Vision Expo West.

Specsavers has also revealed that its March Professional Advancement Conference roadshow training events, MiniPACs, have been postponed due to concerns around the virus.

Six MiniPAC events were scheduled to take place in March, with more than a thousand delegates.

Specsavers’ clinical services director, Giles Edmonds, commented: “We are monitoring the global COVID-19 situation carefully and in light of the evolving situation the decision has been taken to postpone or move online any Specsavers events that bring together more than 25 people at a time.”

Mr Edmonds added that Specsavers is considering options to deliver selected parts of the CET programme through distance learning, which will be shared with delegates.

A decision regarding the MiniPAC events planned to run between 24 April and 10 May will take place within the next few weeks.

Earlier in the year, event organisers of the trade show dedicated to eyewear, Mido, announced the show would be postponed due to the COVID-19 “emergency.”

The 50th edition of the event was scheduled to take place between 29 February to 2 March in Italy, one of the countries worst affected by the outbreak.

Event organisers have since announced that Mido will take place from 5–7 July.

Organisers revealed the new dates would be compatible with any provisions made by the relevant authority for the “health crisis and for the evolution of the national and international situation.”

The digital platform, Mido4U, has been activated for exhibitors to upload collections, giving registered buyers the chance to preview the products and contact the exhibitors. The platform was also opened to visitors from 3 March.

Our current status with regards to the COVID-19 virus remains the same: the health, safety and wellbeing of exhibitors, visitors and staff remains unchanged and is always our number one priority

Matt Govett, managing director of MA Exhibitions

Meanwhile, Optrafair 20/20, due to take place from 4–6 April in Birmingham, is still set to go ahead as planned.

Event organisers said the situation was being carefully monitored and added “Our current status with regards to the COVID-19 virus remains the same: the health, safety and wellbeing of exhibitors, visitors and staff remains unchanged and is always our number one priority.”

A number of strengthened hygiene and sanitation measures will be taken surrounding Optrafair 20/20.

Event organisers explained public health messaging would be displayed and shared before and during the event, and there will be an increased availability of disinfectants in a number of locations at the show.

All AV and microphone equipment will be cleaned between sessions and before and after use, while hand sanitiser will be provided for speakers before and after microphone use.

All keyboards, touchscreens and badge-issuing machines in the registration area will be operated by event staff, while visitors and exhibitors are also advised to carry a personal supply of hand sanitiser, tissues and wipes.

“Should there be any changes to the current recommendations from the World Health Organization or Public Health England, we will review and share their instructions,” explained MA Exhibitions managing director, Matt Govett.

Since the publication of this story the organisers of Optrafair 20/20 have taken the decision to postpone the event until September (updated 13 March). 

OT endeavours to keep the most up-to-date news on our website and this information was correct when published. However, the situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. Please check OT’s rolling optics-specific coverage for the latest news and guidance on COVID-19.