This Thursday, they should all have put the finishing touches on their stand, the 220 exhibitors of the 72nd edition of the Foire Expo de Saint-Étienne finally busy dismantling their facilities due to the cancellation of the event. The meeting traditionally launches the Loire economic return and this year it was to be that of the relaunch, the resumption of activity, at the end of a project transformed into a race against time so that the Fair can be held.
Fair Expo impossible this year because the gauge fell to 1,000 people with the passage on enhanced alert against Covid-19 in the metropolis of Saint-Étienne, yet exhibitors, their teams and the various stakeholders represent only them 800 people.
We would have applied a much stricter health protocol than in shopping centers
On the side of the organizers, bitter anger and a “feeling of injustice” dominate. They point to “double standards” with shopping centers and demand financial compensation accordingly. “We’re going to fight. We can see that there is still a lot of traffic in shopping centers. We would not have had more traffic here and undoubtedly with a much stricter health protocol, believes Florian Jeanetti, president of the Saint-Etienne Fair. And in relation to this principle of equity, we will fight for financial compensation“.
According to Christophe Cizeron, Managing Director of GL Events, the events sector represents 25,000 direct and indirect jobs in Rhône-Alpes for maintenance, reception, security, communication and accommodation.
We were counting on the Fair to compensate for the shutdown of confinement
In the halls, the carpet is still covered with its protective film but the drills have switched to unscrewing mode. And this year, the order books will not be filling up here.
Michel Beaulaigue is a furniture salesman and kitchen installer in Riotord. These ten days of Fair determine two to three months of activity. “Especially since this year our store had to close. We counted on the Fair to compensate. It’s going to be tough, ”explains this craftsman who has been involved in it for 30 years.
Not to mention the costs incurred to be in one of the exhibition halls. For Renaissance, a company that installs windows, doors and shutters, this is a budget of nearly 15,000 euros.
A bet that many preferred not to attempt since there were 350 exhibitors registered during the previous edition, 120 more than this year.