With the rollout of the vaccine now well underway, and no new locally acquired COVID cases, Sydney and New South Wales are continuing to see further easing of restrictions and residents and visitors alike are getting back to business and increasingly enjoying all that the city and state have to offer.
Sydney has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the safest and most liveable cities in the world, from the outstanding natural environment that provides a backdrop to the city, to the high-quality green spaces, clear blue skies and water, and healthy outdoor living. And, thanks to strong management of COVID-19 to date, this position has been further strengthened.
To date, the measures that Australia has taken around social distancing, testing, tracing, local health responses and quarantine have effectively mitigated the broader spread of COVID-19 into the community and the vaccines will of course build on Australia’s ability to control the virus.
The Government has allocated over A$6 billion to support the vaccine roll out and, with close to 90,000 Australians having received a vaccine already, the rollout schedule is on track. Those working in healthcare and quarantine facilities, and residents and staff of residential and disability care facilities have been prioritised and broader rollout is scheduled for later in 2021.
Rolling out the vaccine, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the state had come a long way and we should be proud of the position we are in: “NSW has started rolling out the vaccine across the state and now we are further easing restrictions, which is a fantastic achievement.”
Whilst our global clients may be travelling closer to home for now, we know that the need and desire for incentive travel and conferences is ever-present and we hope that Sydney and Australia remain a top pick. In readiness for your arrival, our partners and suppliers across the business events chain have worked hard to give even greater confidence to travellers when it comes to being COVIDsafe. Here is a snapshot of some of the measures that have been taken.
Our partners prioritise health and hygiene
Qantas has introduced the 'Fly Well' Program with a series of wellbeing improvements to give peace-of-mind in preparation for domestic travel restrictions easing. Measures such as masks on board, hand sanitising stations and enhanced aircraft cleaning will be among the improvements. There will also be more flexibility added to bookings so people can plan with confidence.
ICC Sydney has developed a set of operating principles spanning 16 key areas of event management and integrating best practice from parent group ASM Global’s VenueShield – a program of the most advanced hygienic safeguards, informed by public health authorities, medical and industry experts. These measures include the use of personal protective equipment, food safety measures, air quality control, surface cleaning, physical/social distancing, temperature checks, thermal cameras, hand sanitisers, reduced touch points, contactless transactions, and daily monitoring systems. The ICC hosted its first in-person event post COVID back in September, for more than 125 doctors and medical professionals, and they have a host of exhibitions and conferences ahead.
Sydney Airport has received the Airport Health Accreditation by Airports Council International for the COVID-safe measures they've put in place. Some of the steps taken to date include hourly cleaning of high-touch areas and using hospital-grade cleaning products, markers on terminal floors and on seating, to help you keep a safe distance from other travellers where you can, and installing hand sanitiser units at terminal entrances and exits, and near bathrooms, check-in, and security areas.
Accor Hotels has elevated their consistently high standards of hygiene and cleanliness across their brand, by launching the ALLSAFE program to implement some of the most stringent cleaning standards and operational protocols. The ALLSAFE global cleanliness and prevention standards have been developed with and vetted by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification, and will be audited either by Accor operational experts or by third-party auditors such as Bureau Veritas to receive this label. The new measures include a reinforced cleaning program within the hotel and all rooms, new safety and hygiene training for all staff, all guests receive individual sanitiser, mask and wipes, contactless payment and desk-free check-in, and all kitchen staff must wear a mask and gloves.
Hilton Sydney has introduced its ‘CleanStay’ program designed to deliver guests and cleaner and safer stay and improve team member training. Hilton will display a 'CleanStay Room Seal' to indicate that rooms haven't been accessed since they were cleaned. They are also working with the Mayo Clinic's Infection Prevention and Control team to inform their cleaning policies. Some other measures include contactless check-in with Digital Key, providing access to your room key directly from your phone, along with additional disinfecting for several surfaces in the room, and extra amenities are delivered in protective packaging and placed at the guest room door. Hilton Sydney recently hosted its latest largescale in-person event, the AFR Business Summit.
BridgeClimb is back open and operating under new CovidSafe protocols that provide a level of hygiene and control including enhanced monitoring and health screening of all climbers, contactless ID checks for all climbers, enforced physical distancing, messaging throughout BridgeClimb, providing clear guidance to visitors, socially distant small climb groups, provision of hand washing and sanitiser stations and high frequency cleaning throughout and card-only, contactless transactions.
Building on Sydney’s popularity as a safe and highly desirable place to work, visit and spend time, the City of Sydney and NSW Government continue to invest in new initiatives to make Sydney even more attractive and bring new experiences for all who come. A multi-million-dollar plan is currently underway to make Sydney a truly 24-hour city, including an alfresco dining strategy that will allow more visitors to enjoy the fresh air, climate and vistas our city has to offer. The plan also includes:
- Outdoor summer cultural experiences
- Live music, performance and art in venues, bars, restaurants and outdoors
- Public art in laneways across central Sydney
- Providing space to relax outdoors with pop-up seating
- Keeping Sydney’s cultural organisations open into the evenings.
For more information on the enhanced health and safety measures being introduced by our partners click here or to discuss your next incentive trip or conference in Sydney, you can reach me here.
Sinead Yeo is BESydney’s Director, Global Corporates & Incentives