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Meet safely in Leipzig

The SAFE EXPO hygiene concept

The pandemic presented the event industry with a whole host of challenges virtually overnight. After events were initially banned, meeting in person gradually became possible again – at first under strict conditions.
Event organisers also had to create and enforce their own hygiene concepts. These had to comply with Saxony’s coronavirus legislation, which in turn changed every four weeks. This meant that Leipziger Messe, the Congress Center Leipzig (CCL) and KONGESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig were also required to draw up a hygiene plan of their own. Its contents serve to protect exhibitors, visitors and staff and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The measures are adapted as required to the regulations currently applicable in the Free State of Saxony and the rules imposed by the responsible health authority in Leipzig. The SAFE EXPO hygiene concept has since enabled event organisers to once again plan and hold congresses without safety concerns.

Even though most pandemic restrictions were recently lifted, SAFE EXPO is now a permanent fixture in event planning. As Technical Director, Mr Dirk Weichel is in charge of ensuring that the CCL and the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig are technically equipped, and is also responsible for compliance with pandemic-related regulations. We talked to him about the hygiene concept, current regulations and how the pandemic has impacted the event industry.

Mr Weichel, what is the purpose of the SAFE EXPO hygiene concept?

Essentially, the hygiene concept aims to prevent the spread of infection, manage crowd sizes, and ensure contact tracing. It does this by covering a number of processes. On the one hand, there are general hygiene rules, such as set visitor numbers,social distancing requirements, a recommendation to wear masks, sanitary hygiene measures, contactless payment, and ventilation. In addition, there are precise rules on accessing events. Depending on the legislation currently applicable in the Free State of Saxony, the hygiene concept also advises that organisers check attendees’ vaccination and/or test certificates. General organisation on site is also laid down in writing. To this end we liaise with the event organiser in each case.

How does SAFE EXPO differ from hygiene concepts at other locations?

We have kept SAFE EXPO as short and concise as possible and made a point of ensuring that it can be applied flexibly regardless of the format and size of the event. This has the advantage that organisers do not have to rethink their hygiene concept if the situation changes, but can build on what is already in place. In addition, we keep our staff well informed of the current requirements under Saxony’s coronavirus rules – and of any related changes to the hygiene concept. Organisers can therefore rest assured that things will run smoothly. Our SAFE EXPO concept is a practical, one-size-fits-all solution. This also reflects the unique benefits of the location itself. Leipzig is the perfect choice for congress planners who value individuality and flexibility and want to keep planning costs low. Both the safety and organisation of congresses are taken care of together.

Where has the hygiene concept already been used successfully?

Following a break due to the pandemic, the Visceral Medicine 2021 conference took place in the CCL from 16 to 18 September 2021, with more than 4000 participants. This is where the SAFE EXPO hygiene concept was successfully applied for the first time, with several thousand participants finally able to attend a face-to-face event again. This year, on 4 March 2022, the Annual Meeting of the Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis Research also took place in the CCL. Thanks to our hygiene concept, the organiser successfully welcomed 1000 participants without any safety concerns.

New coronavirus rules entered into force here in Saxony on 2 April. What can organisers expect in the coming months? How will the hygiene concept change?

The new legislation relaxes the rules on staging events. Masks are no longer mandatory, and nor is it necessary to check people’s vaccination status. Nevertheless, we have decided to keep SAFE EXPO as our hygiene concept and to recommend that event organisers make use of it. Further advice includes using the national Corona-Warn-App, practising social distancing, and wearing masks if possible. However, each event organiser is free to decide on these rules individually. We will continue to apply the defined hygiene standards in our venues. This includes providing hand sanitiser dispensers, offering contactless payment, adapted ventilation systems and sanitary hygiene. The buildings at Leipziger Messe, the CCL and the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig all underwent structural changes during the pandemic, so we see no reason to adjust our own rules here.

Do organisers still need their own hygiene concept in order to hold meetings at Leipziger Messe and its venues?

Submitting a hygiene concept is no longer required at present. Even so, we advise organisers to implement our SAFE EXPO recommendations for their own protection. Since Saxony’s coronavirus legislation is evaluated at four-week intervals, things can change quickly. If the rules become stricter again, we recommend that event organisers draw up a hygiene concept.

COVID brought about lasting change in many sectors. How did the pandemic affect how events were held?

During the pandemic, the number of enquiries we received was of course not as high – this was due in part to the national and state coronavirus restrictions. After the first lockdowns, only small face-to-face events with very limited numbers of participants were allowed. The insecure situation meant that events normally held in person had to take place exclusively online. An example of this is the IT trade fair congress which is usually held at the CCL. In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic years, it had to be conducted online.

Is there a demand for hybrid and virtual formats or do organisers still prefer face-to-face events?

It’s fair to say that interest in face-to-face events is unbroken despite the pandemic. We are again seeing more and more enquiries for Leipziger Messe, the CCL and the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig. Trade fairs and congresses continue to be an indispensable economic driver and offer a professional platform for personal encounters and networking. Leipzig, for example, has long been a popular choice of location for medical congresses.
The future of trade fairs and congresses still lies in face-to-face events. Depending on the nature of the event and the communication goals, these can and will be supplemented with digital and hybrid formats. As a congress and conference centre, we have the technical facilities to prepare any format for organisers. The pandemic certainly established a more widespread virtual meeting culture, but that cannot replace meeting in person and the desire for physical events

Would you like to know more about Leipziger Messe’s SAFE EXPO hygiene concept? Mr Weichel would be happy to hear from you.

Mr Dirk Weichel
Technical Director Congress Center Leipzig / KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig

phone: +49 341 678-8841
e-mail: d.weichel@ccl-leipzig.de

Are you planning a congress in Leipzig?

Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH will be happy to advise you personally on the current coronavirus measures in Saxony as well as on a suitable venue for your event.
Contact us!


What is a hygiene concept?

A hygiene concept is the basis on which tailored hygiene rules are designed for individual events. Its legal basis in Leipzig is Saxony’s state coronavirus rules. The hygiene concept thus guarantees that the event can run smoothly and ensures the following general conditions:
  • Avoiding the spread of infection

  • Crowd size management

  • Ensuring contact tracing

As an organiser, do I always need a hygiene concept?  

According to the current rules in Saxony, which came into force on 2 April 2022, organisers do not need an individual hygiene concept. Nevertheless, we recommend that they make use of the SAFE EXPO hygiene concept in order to counteract the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure a safe event for participants.

Where can I find a template for my hygiene concept?

The entire SAFE EXPO hygiene concept can be found here. You are welcome to adopt its structure and contents, but will need to adapt them to your own event. Leipziger Messe GmbH regularly updates the SAFE EXPO hygiene concept in order to comply with the latest legal requirements.


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