There has been a steady decline in COVID-19 infections in Iceland since April 5. At this point, there are only a handful of active cases in the country. May 4 marked the start of substantial easing of the social distancing measures and on May 7 Harpa reopened, becoming one of the first conference halls in Europe to do so during the pandemic. Last week it was announced that from June 15, the 14-day quarantine will not be mandatory for passengers arriving at Keflavik International Airport. Instead, tourists and Icelandic residents entering the country will be given the option of being screened for the novel coronavirus.
“The well-being of our guests, organizers, and staff is of the highest priority.”
When social distancing measures were put in place in Iceland on March 16, Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavík had to close temporarily. Before the outbreak, 2020 was on track to be a record year for Harpa in international events. “It was confusing and difficult for us, as for everyone in the event industry, to see things unfold when borders started closing down,” says Svanhildur Konradsdottir, CEO of Harpa. “But we certainly appreciate that most of our clients chose to postpone their events rather than cancelling them. That inspired us to start right away to plan for the post-COVID-19 era.”
“We have been working closely with the Icelandic health authorities enabling international conference guests to be safely brought together this summer. The well-being of our guests, organizers, and staff is of the highest priority, and we follow strict guidelines on personal hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, sanitation, and social distancing between people. We have implemented processes on how to divide our space into sections to fulfil current regulations on group size and social distancing. We have implemented cleaning procedures for the whole building with particular attention to frequently touched objects and surfaces. Microphones, pointers, keyboards and podiums are disinfected between speakers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available to all guests,” says Konradsdottir.
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center is well-known for its unique architecture, which is influenced by the exceptional and dramatic nature of the Icelandic landscape. Its location in the heart of Reykjavík, situated on the picturesque Reykjavík harbour, which features stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean. Not to mention its state-of-the-art software and technologically that gives event professionals the option of offering virtual or hybrid (online/on-site) events.