The COVID-19 outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on the home + housewares industry, and as we look to prepare for The Inspired Home Show 2022, the International Housewares Association (IHA) is taking steps to ensure a safe and productive return to Chicago.
IHA, McCormick Place and vendor partners are working together on an action plan that complies with recommendations and safety procedures from CDC, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, while also meeting the needs of our industry. Although the plan is very much a work in progress and will adjust to meet changing conditions, elements include the following:
McCormick Place Building Readiness
- Enhancing the overall cleaning process using hospital-grade sanitizing solution on all high-touch areas including restrooms, handrails, elevators, door handles & push bars, public furniture and drinking fountains
- Increasing the outside air intake and change rate to improve the overall air quality
- Training security, fire safety, EMT and paramedic personnel on how to recognize possible symptoms of Coronavirus and on appropriate actions to take to minimize risks
- Locating First Aid Stations in all halls
- Meeting all GBAC STAR established guidelines for cleaning and disinfection practices for infectious disease prevention
- More information available at https://www.mccormickplace.com/coronavirus/
Show Management Areas, Meeting Rooms & Common Space
- Increasing sanitization at registration, product displays and buyers’ clubs
- Expressing social distancing policies through informative signage and floor decals
- Decreasing seating at educational sessions for appropriate social distancing
- Adding plexi-panel partitions and hand sanitizer stations to registration counters, badge kiosks and info desks
- Providing new safety services including mask availability & distribution and remote badge pick-up at McCormick Place, Chicago Marriott Downtown, Hyatt Regency Chicago and Hilton Chicago Hotels
- Exploring wider, one-directional aisles with dividers to manage traffic flow
- Defining queue lines to control paths within pre-determined areas
- Revamping food service to minimize human contact points using pre-packaged items for easy grab & go
- Adding floor decals for social distancing within queue lines
- Spreading out seating areas for appropriate social distancing
- Offering hand sanitizer dispensers within service areas
- Assisted sampling is required to maximize attendee and exhibitor safety during the COVID-19 crisis and pandemic. Exhibiting companies can dispense appropriately portioned packaged or wrapped foodservice samples (e.g. container, paper or plastic wrapped). The packaged or wrapped samples are handed directly to an attendee by an exhibitor representative or hired SAVOR attendant.
- Based on current guidelines that require guests to be seated in order to remove their mask while eating and drinking, attendees will be allowed to eat and drink in designated areas only.
Best Practices and Readiness for Exhibitors
IHA will provide best practices and suggestions for exhibitors on how to maintain adequate social distancing in their booths, including but not limited to the following:
- Scheduling appointments in advance
- Designing booths that limit group congregation
- Having wide entry and exit points
- Cleaning high-touch surfaces and products multiple times throughout the day
- Utilizing seating that allows for adequate social distancing
- Providing hand sanitizer in your booth
- Working with SAVOR if serving food, the official catering provider for McCormick Place, to ensure proper food safety
In the coming weeks and months, IHA will continue to create and refine our exhibition plan to address the safety of our exhibitors, attendees & staff and will keep the industry updated as additional information becomes available.