Not long after the announcement that Fensterbau was postponed, organisers have announced new dates in June for the exhibition to take place.

This was their announcement:

In 2022 FENSTERBAU FRONTALE and HOLZ-HANDWERK will take place in March again.

The protection of the health and safety of exhibitors, visitors and employees is a top priority for NürnbergMesse. In awareness of this responsibility and after careful consideration and evaluation of the current situation, the Management Board of NürnbergMesse has decided on this necessary protective measure.

Petra Wolf, Member of the Management Board of NürnbergMesse: “We expressly thank all customers, partners and media representatives for the understanding they have shown regarding our decision to postpone FENSTERBAU FRONTALE and HOLZ-HANDWERK 2020. We are pleased about the high level of commitment in the industry – after intensive deliberations and numerous positive discussions with national and international customers, we have chosen the new date in June”.

Elke Harreiß, Director FENSTERBAU FRONTALE, adds: “Postponing FENSTERBAU FRONTALE was necessary for this important industry meeting place to be held in 2020 – although with special challenges. After all, maintaining and expanding business relations remain more than important in turbulent times like these. What is decisive now is that the industry stands together and tries to make the best out of this situation!“

There’s some interesting nuances in this statement. There is nothing trimphant in this, quite rightly. These are serious, uncertain times we’re all going through. The first paragraph leaves the door open for the exhibition to be pushed back further. June is only three months away, and governments, including the UK, have said that as the virus spreads, we’re going to see the majority of cases in a 12 week period. The virus continues to spread, and it feels as though we’re not that afr away from the start of that 12 week period. The organisers will know this, and have the ability to move the date back again. Personally I think they will need to. June is optimistic, and at the risk of sounding negative, it might be too soon. I was predicting September personally.

The mention of special challenges refers to measures in place to limit the spread of the virus. If the show does go ahead in June, expect some fairly stringent restrictions in place. Its likely there will be no handshakes, hugs or kisses. There will be a major cleaning effort around the clock to reduce the risk. Social events around the exhibition may be cancelled for this year. There will most certainly be a different kind of atmosphere. They know this, its why they mention that the industry needs to make the best out of the situation.

They’re absolutely right. This virus is going to be a long term problem, and will impact fenestration in two ways. The first will be more immediate and reduced business levels as the world falls into recession. Second it will change how we do business with each other in at least the medium term. There will be less meetings, less events, less gatherings. More online business being conducted, more working from home, more phone calls. Business can still be done, but it will be done in different ways.

It does sound like they have had enough support from exhibitors and media partners to go ahead with a show in June. You would expect this. Exhibitors have committed to very large expenditure, and they will want to see that investment realised. The question then turns to whether people will actually go. Footfall will depend on progress of the virus.

As the entirity of Italy enters lockdown, stock markets crash around the world, this is yet another example the real-world effect of the coronavirus.

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