Pictured: Hazel Pilling, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, welcomes guests to the ‘socially distanced’ business event in Warwickshire

Business events returned to Coventry and Warwickshire for the first time since March – but there were no handshakes or business card swaps.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its first ‘in-person’ business event since lockdown and chose the IXL Events Centre, in Southam, to host the gathering as one of the Chamber’s valued Strategic Partners.

Eighteen delegates attended the socially distanced event and all stood more than two metres apart as they chatted about their businesses with fellow firms while regularly sanitising their hands.

Hazel Pilling, membership manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It wasn’t quite a full on business event as we know it, but it was great to be back in a room with businesspeople and there was a real buzz – you could definitely tell that everyone had missed it.

“It was a great example of how business events of this nature can work really well and be done safely and securely and within Government guidelines. Everyone was happy to follow the procedures such as wearing masks, although they could take them off while they were having a coffee or a water.

“There was a one-way system in operation in terms of coming in and going out and hand sanitiser everywhere.

“The feedback was that everyone felt really safe but also relaxed too so they could enjoy the chance to see other business people ‘in-person’ again. As a Chamber, we will continue to operate online events because they have worked really well over the past six months in connecting businesses but I, for one, was delighted to be back meeting in person.

“The Chamber is a long-established and trusted source of business events and for connecting companies to one another and this event proved, yet again, that we will do whatever it takes to bring firms together to do business.

“A huge amount of credit must go to the IXL Events team for staging this event and proving that they are capable of scaling up to even bigger gatherings, as and when the Government guidance changes.”

Lai-Yee Cheung, director of sales and marketing at IXL Events, said: “The events sector is having a really difficult time right now and, there is no doubt, that we need more support and to be allowed to host larger events as soon as possible.

“We were delighted to host the Chamber’s event and it gave businesses the chance to see the wonderful facilities we have to offer here.

“We simply cannot wait to get more people back in as soon as we can.”