Safe Gatherings (Croatian: Sigurna Okupljanja) is a new platform for event organisers launched to reactivate the event industry that came to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Created by the Ministry of Culture and Media and the Croatian Chamber of Economics, the platform follows recommendations and mandates set by the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters. The inspiration for the Safe Gatherings platform came from a similar project launched by the Belgian government.
The main goal is to return the audience’s sense of safety and confidence that the events they attend are safe and they are following all health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Online registration of professional events
Starting from June 1st 2021, all events with more than 100 visitors need to be registered through the platform at okupljanja.hr. Event organisers can use it as a central hub for all educational and informative materials regarding the safety of their event.
The platform gives easy access to all previous and active resolutions regarding events and gatherings brought by the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters.
Additionally, all financial support measures for the sector of culture and media are listed and updated for each ministry, giving companies a quick overview of public calls and future budgeting per sector.
The platform’s core is an algorithm that will estimate the level of the risk for each event that is registered. Once the analysis is complete, the platform will issue a certificate that the event is safe for visitors.
The certificate proves that the event is aligned with the current disease prevention measures and will forward the information to the local civil protection services.
In case of disease breakthrough, they will track and trace the origin of potential COVID-19 spread and follow which gatherings possibly caused it.
Preparation for mass events
The Croatian Chamber of Economy, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Media, emphasised the importance of reactivating the event industry.
The long term goal is to return the audience to large events which are the most considerable risk in spreading COVID-19.
Following the statistics, in the EU, the annual income of creative and cultural industries was 643 billion Euros pre-COVID19, and more than 8 million people worked in this field. Considering these numbers, a project was developed to take steps towards a full recovery.
In Croatia, creative and cultural industries are the biggest promoters of the country and are a major drawcard for tourism. It was essential to set up the platform before the beginning of the 2021 summer season.
The Belgian government project that inspired the Safe Gatherings platform introduced an official tool for risk estimates of each event, and in the first 14 days, more than 14 thousand events were registered and approved to be safe for the audience.
Working closely with the Croatian Institute for Public Health, the Croatian government organised a pilot project of two events: a business dinner and a wedding.
All guests had to be tested negative with a PCR test or bring proof of vaccination or natural immunity. Events helped prove that it is possible to have events with a big audience if all attendees are immune, vaccinated or tested negative.
The platform Safe Gatherings is currently used only for professional cultural and artistic events, such as concerts, festivals, theatre performances and exhibitions. The long term goal is to expand its usage to all events, but primarily conferences and sports events.