COVID Safety planning
As we’ve said before, we are committed to deliver a safe in-person event in June 2022 at the Hotel Vienna Park in Austria. What we haven’t shared is anything specific around COVID yet. We feel it is too early to decide and thus share any details as we cannot guarantee what we’ll be implementing.
That said, we understand the desire for potential speakers and attendees to know how serious we are about safety, and what type of measure we have in mind.
Despite this fifth wave hitting Europe now, we’re even more confident the event will happen as planned, as the governments seem to be more reactive and decisive than before, and we hope the date of the event in the late spring/early summer will be at a time of reduced propagation of the virus, as people spend more time outdoors.
From a legal standpoint, the organisation and the safety measures we have to follow are:
- The laws of Austria
- Comply with the requirements for private events in the city of Vienna
- Follow the rules for the Hotel and their COVID plan
Additionally, we can add our own measures although it’s too early for us to make most of the decisions.
It is worth noting that since the 22nd of November and up to the 12 December 2021, Austria is in a temporary lockdown, so events are prohibited. For this reasons, the rules that will apply after that are unknown, so we’re sharing what we believe will apply in the near future, but we’ll update in subsequent posts as we get more information.
From February 2022 Austria will require its population to be vaccinated, so we expect that only vaccinated people to be allowed to attend private events, and maybe entering the country by public transport.
For now the rule seems to be that the last vaccination (2nd dose or booster) has to be done within the last 360 days.
We, the organisers, are also required to ensure that only those who comply with the rule can enter, and we will be checking your COVID certificate every time as you enter the Conference floor.
As we have the Mezzanine level of the hotel to ourselves, we will check before the stairs or outside the lifts.
We don’t know what the restrictions will be then, and as Austria is currently in a temporary lock down, we know for sure it will be different.
Be prepared as masks might be mandatory when indoors, we will monitor the requirements and keep you up to date through social media and this website.
We will make sure we have plenty of masks available anyway.
When we looked into this at the end of last June, there were no mandatory distance to respect. Few months before that, the rule in Vienna for private event was 1m away when seated. When standing the rule is usually to stay 2m apart.
As it’s too early to know, we will initially limit the number of tickets on sale to allow for that distancing, and release more as we get closer to the date if possible and if we feel it’s safe to do so.
When in the foyer area, we won’t be able to enforce social distancing, but we’re trying to have a visual system for each attendee to signal their preference.
We’re thinking of something like:
- No worries, I might hug you if you’re ok
- No handshake/fist bump. Wear a mask to talk to me if I wear one.
- Please observe the recommended 2m away please, and wear a mask to talk to me if I wear one.
It is worth noting that there will be other public area in the hotel where attendees will be able to break away in small groups: bar, restaurants, lobby…
What else are we doing?
For now, we’re trying to plan for different scenarios, and what we can do to prepare for them.
We’re contacting our partners to see the cost and added constraints involved.
For instance, the plan was to have a food buffet with standing tables as we had in previous years. It’s great for networking, and allow for efficient catering service, without taking too much space or time on the schedule.
But given the situation, we’re considering other ways to provide lunch, even though they might have additional cost and impact the conference schedule.
As we’ll get closer to the date, we’ll have a better idea of what’s possible and of course, we’ll share publicly as we make the decision.
There is a lot of constraints because of COVID-19, and not all have been worked out yet. We need to consider registration, traffic/flow of attendees, cleaning, security enforcement, catering…
Rest assure we’re working on it, and it is our top priority. We can’t tell you yet what measure will be added, but we will be transparent about what we can or can’t implement as we make those decisions.