In the Wake…We Face the Facts (Part 1)

by Scott Lebwohl, January 7, 2021

Preface: This is the first in a new series of blogs that will address a variety of key issues facing the exhibition and events industry in the wake of the catastrophic Covid-19 pandemic.  In order to resume some semblance of normality, the live events industry must reevaluate virtually all of our operating and logistics protocols in order to make them pandemic-proof, now and in the future. SMT expo, LLC., is proud to assist in those efforts with this ongoing series of blogs. We welcome and invite our readers to respond with your thoughts. 

On behalf of my company, SMT expo, I would like to commend so many of our colleagues who have risen to the challenge of Covid-19 by doing literally everything within their power to keep the lights on and their employees employed and with benefits. We are all working towards creating a live events environment that is both welcoming and safe. The fact that Covid-19 completely shut down the live events industry so rapidly reveals that we simply were not prepared to thwart the pandemic.  We must do better to safeguard ourselves from a reoccurrence because, not only are the livelihoods of our employees and clients, and their families at stake, but so are their lives.

Alongside the travel and hospitality industries, the live events industry has been devastated.  We can try to restore a revenue generating climate with small sporadically held events, but until we all get our act together, and adhere to a strict social distancing and mask wearing effort, we will continue to suffer. As a business owner, I understand and appreciate how many of us are experiencing levels of stress and responsibility that are at times extremely burdensome; and never more so than right now. During this pandemic, our employees, exhibitors, and attendees are counting on us to lead them in safety. It’s what being on a team is all about. Maintaining safe work environments while trusting and empowering your staff to practice social distancing and proper safety measures is taxing on us all.  We must face the nation’s polar perspectives head on and determine how best to address the pandemic. It is imperative that we create an environment to enable all of us to reignite our industry, manage our employees’ safety, and inspire confidence to invite exhibitors and attendees back to the show floor. We must find ways to exercise precautionary measures that are both reasonable and practical. As a business owner, you must take responsibility to trust the science-based facts that are being presented to us and deliver proper means and methods of protection to your team; to go above and beyond what normal times require. 

Considering that SMT expo is a single office location company, my task is much more manageable than that of the nationwide organizations that make up much of our industry. We are all trying our best, and we must show some compassion and consideration during these troubled and demanding times.  At this writing, over 350,000 Americans have lost their lives to Covid-19. If we accept that at this current rate of transmission the exposure risks are getting worse, then it would seem logical that if we follow all of the social distancing, personal accountability, and practical best methods of safety, then we can avoid prolonging the shut down to the exhibition and live events industry. 

Wearing masks will not shut down the economy, but not wearing a mask may. Contrarian ideologies, however important they may be at times, should sit this one out. There is a time and place for them, that goes without saying, but right now is the time for protecting our families, friends, coworkers, front line workers, as well as our entire industry for the greater good of our country, and for the survival of our industry. We must find a way to get back to work, get back on the show floor, restore our industry and make it so the exhibitors and attendees are comfortable returning.

Wishing everyone a warm and safe New Year!

Scott Lebwohl

Founder & Executive Vice President

SMT expo, a division of Glenmore Industries

www.SMTexpo.com

Scott@SMTexpo.com