“Vision Expo has always been one of the vision community’s most important events and one that is incredibly important to the health of the optical industry,” said Mitch Barkley, vice president of trade shows and meetings at The Vision Council, adding that the Las Vegas show’s will fall under the banner “One Vision, One Focus, One Future.”
Due to COVID-19, Vision Expo East, set to be held in New York City in March, was canceled, with Barkley explaining, “following a period of disruption and unprecedented challenges for the industry, we feel it is more important than ever to bring the community together for a weekend of connection, learning and doing business, but being able to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in attendance at the Show has always been our highest priority,” he said.
Now, in the wake of the pandemic, The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions, who co-own the event, have announced the creation of a Health & Safety Task Force to develop and implement policies and best practices around COVID-19 response and prevention in Las Vegas.
“This is the first time we have had a task force like this in place as part of show planning,“ Barkley said. ”The goal is to organize Vision Expo West in line with guidance from public health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, state and local governments and the protocols put in place by venue partners.”
The task force is focused on five operational pillars: show layout and logistics, including floor plans and recommended booth guidelines; physical distancing, including capacity and flow of people; health screening and medical response; cleaning, sanitization and personal protective equipment; and conference, special events and talent handling.
Las Vegas reopened on June 4, but as recent tourism campaign promises, it’s a “New Vegas, for a new reality.”
“We are monitoring the Las Vegas reopening rollout very closely and will develop and update our protocols as needed over the coming weeks,” Barkley said of the developing nature of the response to pandemic. “We will communicate regularly with all our attendees and exhibitors so that we can bring the vision community together again under the best possible circumstances.“
Additionally, the Venetian Resort — typically were most attendees stay while in Vegas — and Sands Expo Convention Center have developed extensive protocols for cleaning, health and safety. Named the “Venetian Clean” commitment, it was developed with information provided by the Southern Nevada Health District, CDC and WHO as well as additional guidelines and procedures for sanitation and cleaning, with an emphasis on the prevention of virus transmission.
Registration for the show opened last week, and while it’s too early to predict attendance, Barkley noted that, “a majority of our Vision Expo East exhibitors are onboard, as well as several exhibitors participating in Vision Expo West for the first time.“