Health & Safety
HPBA PARTNERS WITH EPISTEMIX ON SAFETY FOR HPBEXPO
Latest COVID modeling shows HPBExpo mitigation strategies ensure safe, controlled environment for guests
HPBA has recently partnered with Epistemix, a firm of epidemiologists and modeling experts to help us estimate the risk for our guests and staff. The data projects the risk of COVID transmission during the March 2-5, 2022 HPBExpo at a rate of less than 0.1% of its 3,000-person conference.
The data confirms that attending HPBExpo is safer than going to the supermarket or the gas station. Reports show a significant drop in case numbers in the Atlanta area during the first week of March, while also confirming that the peak of the Omicron variant will be far past its peak. We will continue to work with Epistemix and the City of Atlanta to ensure a safe and successful event.
Epistemix is a software company that has built computational models to help the exhibition, conference, event, and tradeshow industries prevent the further spread of COVID-19, inform policy, and support decision makers in setting and communicating protocols to assure events can happen safely.
To ensure HPBExpo attendees, exhibitors, HPBExpo staff, and other stakeholders can attend the event without an increased risk of getting COVID, we worked with the HPBExpo leadership to simulate scenarios and their probable outcomes based on the expected number of attendees (~3,000), number of exhibitors (~225), average age of attendees, vaccination coverage of attendees.
“Creating a controlled environment is crucial for conferences like HPBExpo,” says Dr. Lindsey Reiser, Managing Director of Professional Services, Epistemix. “Through implementing safety measures HPBExpo can reduce transmission to a minimum.”
The vaccination coverage in Atlanta and safety protocols are expected to result as follows:
- The city of Atlanta is currently at the end of a peak in cases due to the Omicron variant. Epistemix’s model forecasts cases to decrease to a minimum in Atlanta by mid-April. The HPBExpo event occurs at the end of the wave, when average cases per day are projected to be around 2,000.
- The Epistemix model forecasts that with masks, the infection rate at HPBExpo is below the CDC threshold of 2 daily cases per 10,000. The additional measures of testing prior to attending the event and vaccination will further reduce this infection rate to below the CDC threshold
- Epistemix will continue to monitor the city of Atlanta and the omicron variant to provide the most up to date projections to HPBExpo and recommendations to update the Health and Safety Protocol to create a controlled environment that reduces the risk of getting COVID at the event.
HEALTH & SAFETY AT HPBEXPO
To promote the safety of everyone at HPBExpo 2022, we will follow all federal, health/state, and local COVID-19 safety requirements. As requirements continue to evolve and change, we advise participants to periodically check information linked here to prepare for the event. We remind individuals that even with every reasonable precaution, HPBA cannot fully eliminate all risks.
As an extra layer of precaution, all HPBA staff attending HPBExpo 2022 in Atlanta will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will wear a face covering while indoors.
Although there is currently no mask mandate for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority campus, we strongly encourage all participants, especially those who are not vaccinated, to wear a mask indoors, or wherever social distancing cannot be accomplished. We encourage participants to check www.gwcca.org for any ongoing updates regarding GWCCA mandates. Please be advised that masking requirements may be implemented by local or federal authorities as we get closer to the event date.
Outside of the GWCCA campus, an Executive Order requiring mask use in all public places while indoors is currently still in place. We encourage you to check the City of Atlanta Press Release web page for ongoing updates regarding other venues you may visit.
A National Executive Order requires people to wear face masks while using public transportation throughout the United States. This includes airports, airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis and rideshare services. This order has been extended to be in effect at the time of HPBExpo 2022, currently set through March 18, 2022.
Review the resources below for the latest information on COVID-19 guidance and requirements:
HOW WILL COVID-19 AFFECT MY SHOW EXPERIENCE?
Will I need a negative COVID-19 test for my international flight?
If you are traveling internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel). For more information and FAQ’s, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.
A negative COVID-19 test will also be required prior to your international flight back home. A nearby testing site is currently available at one of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Park N Fly lots. This is a drive-through testing location and is located in the parking lot. Patients can stay in the safety of their vehicle. Travelers should be aware of which test their country requires. Visit www.covidclinic.org/college-park for details.
CDC requirements are subject to change.
What safety precautions are in place at the Georgia World Congress Center?
The Georgia World Congress Center is the first convention center in the US to achieve GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council.
This accreditation means GWCC has:
– Established and maintained a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to minimize risks associated with infectious agents, such as novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
– The proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, and work practices in place to combat biohazards and infectious disease.
– Highly informed cleaning professionals who are trained for outbreak and infectious disease preparation and response.
Please click here to access GWCC’s Business Return Plan and click here to learn more about the GBAC STAR™ accreditation.
Will food and beverages be available for purchase at GWCC?
Yes, there will be food and beverage options available for purchase at GWCC, including in Food Court areas on the Show Floor, menus for in-booth catering, and samples from Outdoor Burn Area exhibitors using precautions for health and safety. All food and beverages sold, distributed, and consumed must be ordered through the official caterer and outside food and beverages continue to be prohibited.
Are COVID-19 vaccines required at GWCC?
COVID-19 vaccination is not required to enter GWCC.
Are face masks required at GWCC?
Although there is currently no mask mandate for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority campus, we strongly encourage all participants, especially those who are not vaccinated, to wear a mask indoors, or wherever social distancing cannot be accomplished. We encourage participants to check www.gwcca.org for any ongoing updates regarding GWCCA mandates. Please be advised that masking requirements may be implemented by local or federal authorities as we get closer to the event date. As an extra layer of precaution, HPBA staff present at HPBExpo 2022 in Atlanta will wear a face covering while indoors.
Are face masks required in other businesses in Atlanta?
Outside of the GWCCA campus, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued an Executive Order requiring mask use in all public places while indoors. We encourage you to check the City of Atlanta Press Release web page for ongoing updates regarding other venues you may visit.
Will temperature checks required?
Temperature checks are not required to enter GWCC. Attendees should self-screen for fever or symptoms of COVID-19 and isolate if needed.
How will requirements or updates on requirements be communicated to participants?
Participants should bookmark and check this page. Signage will also be displayed onsite to encourage mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, no hand-shaking, and/or any new requirements from HPBExpo, GWCCA, the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, or any new federal guidelines or requirements.
Do attendees need to select an entry date or time for the show floor?
No, attendees will be able to visit the show floor any time during show hours, March 3-5.
Will show aisles be wider or set up as one-way aisles?
Standard 10 ft. aisles will not be redesigned to be wider; however, there are two major horizontal aisles pre-planned at 20 ft. One-way aisles are not currently planned, but may be implemented if required by the GWCC.
Will exhibitor set-up or tear-down be extended or scheduled differently?
No, exhibitor set-up and tear-down will take place as in years past. The official targeted move-in schedule for on-site shipments will be posted in the online Exhibitor Service Manual this fall. Exhibitors sending their shipment in advance to the warehouse may set up Monday, February 28 – Wednesday, March 2. All exhibits must be set by 5:00pm on Wednesday, March 2.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
What is the refund deadline if I no longer wish to exhibit or attend?
For exhibitors that cancel their booth by September 1, booth fees paid, less 20% of the total booth fee are refundable. For exhibitors that cancel their booth after September 1 and by November 30, booth fees paid, less 50% of the total booth fee, are refundable. Exhibitors that cancel exhibit space after November 30, 2021 will not receive a refund of booth fees paid, and any outstanding balance will be due.
Refunds for Expo Badge Registration, Education Courses, NFI Certification, and meetings and events, less a $10 administrative fee, will be made if the request is received in writing by January 27, 2022. No refunds will be made after that date.
What safety measures have been put in place at hotels?
Discover Atlanta has compiled a list of area hotels along with their operating status and safety measures, available at www.discoveratlanta.com/safety-measures/hotels. Please note that not all hotels on this list are in the HPBExpo Housing Block. To safely book in the HPBExpo official Housing Block with onPeak, click on the Housing tab in the above Attend or Exhibit drop-down menus.