How ready is WTCMM to reopen its doors for holding events?
- Implementation of strict safety protocols
- Efforts during COVID-19
- Bounce back in the events industry
COVID-19 has truly affected every sector of the Philippine economy. One of the most badly hit sectors is the events industry. With government agencies initially mandating that no social gatherings be allowed, key industry players like the World Trade Center Metro Manila together with the organizers, had to temporarily postpone all booked events for 2020.
Despite this, the WTCMM did something that is noble for the country which was appreciated by the industry. They were able to transform the exhibition halls into a We Heal As One Center, a full-fledged COVID-19 facility accommodating asymptomatic patients with the help of other private companies.
This is an important feat to consider, especially during the height of the pandemic when healthcare facilities and other hospitals in the country have been inundated with droves of COVID-19 patients. Some of these facilities even had to refuse patients. As such, over 500 bedspace capacity provided by WTCMM gave the solution to this looming gap in the country’s health care facilities.
With the many patients who have successfully recovered in the We Heal As One Center, the country’s premier exhibitions space is now ready to hold events once more in an effort to boost economic recovery. Now as events business is allowed under MGCQ, WTCMM began its preparation to open its doors to organizers and visitors.
Implementation of strict safety protocols
WTCMM plans to welcome back events at a time when Metro Manila has finally been granted under the most relaxed lockdown classification or MGCQ. After spending more than six months serving COVID-19 patients and supporting healthcare workers in its 12,000 square-meter quarantine facility, the events space is eager to be back in business.
To ensure the safety of future events, strict health guidelines for all exhibitors and guests will be implemented to mitigate health risks while attending events in the exhibition halls. After all the quarantine beds have been removed, comprehensive decontamination and disinfection of the exhibition spaces have started to take place.
Surfaces like walls and floors will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, paying attention to highly touched areas of the facility. All of the ventilation systems in place will also be cleaned, including filters, aircon ducts, as well as other sewage systems. Further repair of damages will also be undertaken in order to restore the facility back to its original state.
All of these efforts were supported by the national government, who are worked to ensure that the exhibition halls will be safe for occupancy before finally reopening. All of these undertakings concluded by the end of October 2020.
In addition, WTCMM has also launched a safety program called B.E. (Business Events) Safe. This program is in compliance with the guidelines of the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) along with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). It aims to show the public how WTCMM plans the safe operation of its exhibition facilities even in the midst of a pandemic.
Efforts during COVID-19
During the early stages of the pandemic in the country, WTCMM has recognized the need to provide its services to the country’s healthcare sector. The Philippine government reached out to WTCMM to request assistance in providing reinforcement on healthcare facilities. The aim of the project was to ease the burden of the hospitals and support the looming gap in the Philippine healthcare system, until such time that there is no longer a need for the temporary isolation quarters.
As mentioned earlier, WTCMM worked with other private organizations in order to make the temporary isolation facility possible. In fact, its 12,000 sqm space was fully used to house the 500+ individual isolation beds that were set up in the entire space.
None of this would be possible without the collective support of Ayala Group of Companies and its subsidiaries: Manila Water Foundation, Manila Water Company, Globe Telecom, and Integrate Micro-Electronics Inc. Utility companies like MERALCO, Maynilad, DICT, Smart, also provided support in order to set up plumbing services in the exhibition halls, as well as, communication facilities for the benefit of the patients and volunteers. Other donors like Kimberly Clark, San Miguel Corp, Hotel 101, Dusit Thani Manila, Bellevue Hotel, MAI Events, Booths N More, Red and Blue Emergency Services, and Beatbox Entertainment (all supported by the DOH and the DPWH) played a valuable role in realizing the facility.
Many other donations poured in from other private companies, which WTCMM fully acknowledges and is immensely grateful for. With the unwavering support of donors, the isolation beds were able to accommodate more than 3,600 patients of which 300 are Filipino OFWs from the Maldives and Abu Dhabi who were quarantined for two (2) weeks. They received due care and medical assistance from the AFP Medical Team, whose personnel, security, nurses, and medical aid staff were able to successfully manage and oversee the entire facility.
Bounce back in the events industry
As you may have already heard in recent news, the Philippines has been able to successfully flatten its curve. The number of average daily cases has significantly dipped compared to previous months.
To bolster the recovery of the different economic sectors, the National Government has slowly begun easing restrictions on travel and social gatherings. It has also been able to grant WTCMM the right to begin staging events as soon as Metro Manila receives an MGCQ classification.
WTCMM is wholly supported by the country’s government agencies in its need to bounce back after more than 6 months away from its core operations. Workers from the live events industry will be the recipients of financial assistance, now that the Bayanihan to Recover As One has recently been signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
The government fully understands the searing effects COVID-19 has had on this sector of the economy. More than 400,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the pandemic — amounting to more than Php 130 billion in losses. It’s now time for not only WTCMM, but the entire industry to recover. Having the chance to do this may finally be possible after all the collective COVID-19 efforts.
The economic repercussions of COVID-19 have particularly been critical to the events industry. Mandates against social gatherings have been put in place, particularly in the early stages of the virus in the country.
World Trade Center Metro Manila is one of the organizations bearing the brunt of these effects. As the country moves on to adapt to the new normal and other businesses begin resuming operations, the live events industry will eventually begin to follow in these footsteps.
WTCMM has been instrumental in the country’s fight against COVID-19. By allowing its exhibition halls to serve as a quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients, it has played an inimitable role in supporting the efforts of the healthcare sector.
Backed by government agencies and with the assurance that all future events will adopt a thorough implementation of stringent health and safety compliance guidelines, WTCMM is truly ready to open its doors to the public once more.