Scottish business events industry unite to support wider community through COVID-19 crisis

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Venues, hotels and other organisations from across the business events industry in Scotland are adapting their businesses and production lines to support the wider community and key workers throughout the current COVID-19 crisis.

With many venues and businesses in the country unable to operate ‘as normal’, there are countless inspirational examples of businesses quickly adapting to do what they can to support the nation through the pandemic, including by converting into temporary hospitals, providing support for volunteering initiatives and producing hand sanitisers.

Across the country, more than 200 hotels have opened their doors to accommodate frontline medical staff and key workers, providing over 20,000 beds free of charge. For example, in Edinburgh, the commercial arm of the Royal College of Surgeons, Surgeon’s Quarter, is offering its services to frontline clinical and medical staff. Its 129-room hotel, Ten Hill Place, is currently home to frontline workers from the city’s hospitals and to date has provided more than 1,000 free room nights. It is also utilising its Surgeons Quarter Travel agency to help find free accommodation for clinical and medical staff close to their places of work.

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) is gathering information on local volunteering opportunities to support charities and those deemed as vulnerable. The list, titled ‘Compassion Against Covid’, also references a number of different activities for people to take part in whilst in isolation and details a variety of free gigs and concerts to attend, which are set up by Edinburgh’s culture magazine The Skinny.

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Scotland’s largest exhibition centre, the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, is one of several venues across the UK to be transformed into a temporary hospital. The SEC has been temporarily renamed NHS Louisa Jordan, after First World War nurse Sister Louisa Jordan who was born in the city, and provides an additional 1,000 hospital bays for COVID-19 patients to support the city’s hospitals and health service.

The venue, located on the banks of the River Clyde, has seen more than 23,000sq m of flooring installed, a delivery of over 8,000 pieces of medical equipment, 35,000m of network cabling for its nurse call system and more than 135,000m of cable to create lighting and power sockets.

A number of the country’s distilleries, including Brewdog and Kingsbarn Distillery, have adapted their facilities and used their expertise to create products including hand sanitiser. The Scotch Whisky Association, which represents 75 members, has created a ‘hand sanitiser portal’ on its website which calls for Scotch Whisky producers to develop and distribute high-strength alcohol and hand sanitiser products to industry suppliers.

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland said: “I am incredibly proud of the proactive approach and collaboration between our partners all across Scotland at what continues to be a very difficult and uncertain time for our industry.

“So much has been achieved in such a short amount of time and there are new, positive stories emerging every day of our partners’ ability to adapt and evolve their businesses to support the wider community; it really is remarkable. As always, the team at VisitScotland Business Events will continue to do whatever we can to support our partners and our industry.”

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