The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) has welcomed the amendments made to lockdown level three which make it possible to hold business events. The new regulations were gazetted on Thursday, 25 June 2020, and will take effect on Monday, 29 June 2020.

The updated rules allow for conferences and meetings, as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • A maximum of 50 people may participate in the event (excluding those who attend via electronic platforms).
  • The event must be held for business purposes.
  • Strict health protocols must be followed, which include keeping contact tracing records, health screening, frequent sanitising, and compulsory social distancing and mask wearing.
“For the business events industry to open up fully, these regulations will have to become part of our daily business.”

The business events sector came to a complete standstill at the start of the national lockdown in March. “Since then the broader tourism industry, of which business events is a major component, has lobbied government about its value to the economy and the importance of it opening up sooner than lockdown levels two or one, as anticipated previously,” says Glenton de Kock, the CEO of SAACI.

SAACI also joined the newly formed SA Events Council, a collective of professional event industry associations, which released events safety guidelines earlier this month. (You can download these here.) Through this collaboration, SAACI will host a ‘Proof of Concept’ hybrid event on Wednesday, 22 July 2020 for the business events sector. (More details on this event will be announced soon.)

“We look forward to the day when we can once again host business events of any size, format or configuration. Meanwhile we urge members of the industry to adhere to the set regulations. Together we will weather this storm.”

“For the business events industry to open up fully, these regulations will have to become part of our daily business. It is about putting safety first and slowly rebuilding our industry to previous levels and eventually to additional growth, so that it can once again make its rightful contribution to the economy,” says de Kock.

“We look forward to the day when we can once again host business events of any size, format or configuration. Meanwhile we urge members of the industry to adhere to the set regulations. Together we will weather this storm.”

To view gazetted amendments to the Disaster Management Act, click here. To read Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s statement on these amendments, click here.

Ed’s note: The Proof of Concept event date was changed from 08 to 15 and then 22 July; this latest update was made on 13 July 2020.

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