New normal guidelines released for MICE sector
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism(DOT)  has issued guidelines for the operations of meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition (MICE) facilities and organizers, which aim to ensure that health and safety protocols are in place.

DOT Administrative Order 2020-003 states the guidelines for the operations of MICE organizers and venues or facilities in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) which focus on areas such as venue capacity limit, interzonal and intrazonal movement, as well as health and safety protocols.

“MICE events may be conducted in areas under modified GCQ, provided, that the total number of participants, including MICE suppliers, exhibitors, and venue oeprators, shall be limited to 50 percent of the maximum venue capacity,” the order said.

The DOT also emphasized that the conduct of MICE events and other MICE-related activities is prohibited in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and GCQ, except for those conducted through an online platform where no physical interaction among participants is involved.

In addition, the guidelines stressed that participants for the MICE events should only come from areas under MGCQ or areas not under any form of community quarantine.

DOT also issued Memorandum Circular 2020-006 which lay out the health and safety guidelines for the operations of MICE organizers and venues or facilities under the “new normal.”

Among the key guidelines for MICE facilities include the implementation of physical distancing measures, as well as proper sanitation, disinfection and ventillation of the venues.

“Control measures shall be in place for the flow of people through the event floor by demarcating aisles, hallways and other common areas,”the guidelines read.

In addition, directional signages, floor markings and ushering shall also be provided to create a logical traffic flow and avoid bottlenecks.

The guidelines also covered room seating arrangement, which stress that a one to two meter distance must be in place in between seats for conference and breakout rooms.

“For theatre-style set-up, a checkerboard set-up shall be used, removing every other chair and arranging it so that no one is seated behind someone else,” DOT said.

In addition, for U-shaped conference set-up and hollow square conference set up, there should be a maximum of two people at each six-feet table, instead of the usual standard of three people per six-feet table.

DOT also emphasized that MICE organizers should check and adhere to the guidelines and policies of national government agencies and the local government unit where the meeting or event will be held, as well as ensure that the maximum venue limit is observed.

Meanwhile, MICE organizers will also be required to formulate an emergency preparedness plan for the prevention of the spread of infection at the MICE event.

The plan should include a communication response protocol with advance information and communication channels with identified health authorities and partners. It should also include a protocol for monitoring COVID-19 pandemic status and system for providing advice to participants not to attend, if they have any symptoms or feel unwell.

In addition, the emergency preparedness plan should also include a comprehensive and detailed documentation of contact deatails of all MICE organizers, suppliers, exhibitors and all other participants at the MICE event to be shared with local public and health authorities if any participant becomes ill with a suspected infectious disease.

The guideliness also emphasized that the MICE organizer should also require the venue operator to submit a safety and sanitation plan covering pre-event, event proper and post-event safety and sanitary measures for implementation in all areas of the venue.

Moreover, the guidelines also covered the operations of MICE suppliers, emphasizing that they should sanitize all their equipment and materials prior to unloading at the loading bay or delivery of the venue.

“Customized booths shall be 70 percent complete prior to ingress to minimize working time inside the venue,” DOT said.

The guidelines also called for the completion of health declaration forms, conduct of regular body temperature checks and wearing of face masks and other PPEs for all the staff of MICE organizers, MICE venues and MICE suppliers.

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