Event organizers have been faced with a lot of questions regarding the establishment of safety and public health measures for hosting local events during the crisis of COVID-19. Let’s check the rules announced by the portuguese government. 

In this blog post we seek to gather the main guidelines announced in Diário da República, dispatch 7900-A/2020 (August, 12) which “sets the interpretation of the principles and guidelines applicable to the holding of corporate events”.

It presents the rules to be applied across all corporate events, as well as the specific rules (but cumulatively applicable) for the different types of corporate events.

By the said order, corporate events are described as “meetings, congresses, exhibitions and trade or craft fairs, seminars, conferences or similar events, organized by public or private entities, intended for the organization members or employees or open to the public or to others”.

For corporate events, the rules envisaged involve 4 principal measures:

(1) A contingency plan for COVID-19 (for each outdoor space or enclosure) and the (2) implementation of access and movement measures:

  • Which obliges to the definition of specific circuits for entering and leaving spaces (using separate doors or entrances);
  • And prioritize tickets purchased by electronic means and contactless payments.

(3) A plan for cleaning and sanitizing the different spaces of the event, that must ensure:

  • The provision of skin disinfectant solutions, for the staff and participants, that must be available in all entrances and exits of spaces and enclosures, as well as indoor spaces, in suitable locations for disinfection”;
  • The periodic cleaning and disinfection of spaces, equipment, objects and surfaces, in which there is intense contact”;
  • The cleaning and disinfection of the equipment, before and after each use or participant interaction, such as objects, surfaces, products and other utensils”;
  • Service stations or stands should preferably be equipped with protection barriers”;
  • Whenever applicable, the maintenance of ventilation systems must be ensured, assuring that their operation is carried out without the occurrence of air re-circulation”;

(4) The use of a mask or visor is mandatory for all staff members, participants or third parties whenever they’re in closed spaces, except when they’re speaking or eating food;

Cumulative rules for different types of corporate events are also specified to complement the guidelines and principles described above.

In the case of exhibitions and trade fairs, access control mechanisms must also be guaranteed and the organizers must enforce the “maximum occupancy rule of 0.05 people per square meter of area, excluding organizers and other staff assigned to the organization.”.

Social distance must also be ensured, namely, in the waiting lines or in public concentration areas, respecting “a minimum distance of two meters between people”.

For “conferences, seminars, talks or similar, held in places with the characteristics of an auditorium, concert hall, amphitheater, congress hall or similar”, it must be announced specific rules for space distribution.

  • “The occupancy of the seating places must be carried out with spacing between people who are not cohabiting, with the previous and next row being occupied by different seats”. In the case of events with a stage, it’s necessary to guarantee the minimum distance of two meters between the stage and the front row of the audience. Likewise, those present on stage must respect the distance between them.

If those conferences, seminars, talks or similar were held outdoor it’s recommended to plan seating in the enclosure, and if possible with proper identification. The distance between spectators must respect the rule of five feet. Also for this type of event, whenever there’s a stage area, it’s necessary to ensure a minimum distance of two meters between the stage and the front row of the audience.

It should also be noted that in relation to “areas of consumption of beverages and food integrated in the scope of corporate events”, the rules applied to catering establishments and the rules defined by the Health Authority must be followed.

Note: Reading this article should be seen as complementary and does not dispense the reading of the order 7900-A/2020, signed by the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition, published in Diário da República (DR).