1) Public Summary

COVID19 – keep calm and carry on

Currently social media has become a hotbed of misinformation related to COVID-19. Keep calm and rely on information and recommendation from official sources.

WHO recommendation for the basic protective measures
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

WHO guidelines for mass gatherings
https://www.who.int/publications-detail/key-planning-recommendations-for-mass-gatherings-in-the-context-of-the-current-covid-19-outbreak

The most common COVID-19 related myths have been addressed on WHO website
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

The official WHO situation reports about the status of virus outbreak can be downloaded from
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

Travel restrictions for air travel are listed by IATA at
https://www.iata.org/en/programs/safety/health/diseases/government-measures-related-to-coronavirus/

UK Government COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19

10 steps for companies to prepare for COVID19 by the Finnish Federation of industries
https://ek.fi/wp-content/uploads/Varautumisen-huoneentaulu_enkku.pdf


2) In general

Currently social media has become a hotbed of misinformation related to COVID-19. Keep calm and rely on information and recommendation from official sources. The most common COVID-19 related myths have been addressed on WHO website
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

The official WHO situation reports about the status of virus outbreak can be downloaded from
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

WHO recommendation for the basic protective measures

  1. Wash your hands frequently: Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand-rub
  2. Practice respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing
  3. Maintain social distancing: Try to maintain at least 1m distance between you and other people
  4. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  5. If you have travelled to outbreak areas and you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

For more information, please visit:
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

 

3) Best practices for game developer studios

  • In general,
    • Prepare for delays and disruptions: Due to travel restrictions, distance working etc. does not slow down just game development and delay games, or hinder sales of games hardware due to disruptions in the production chain, they are likely to cause significant delays on signing publishing and investment deals, especially with your partners for countries affected by the virus.
  • Give guidance to your workers:
    • Give your personnel instructions regarding proper hand hygiene.
    • Advise those with symptoms: If the person has arrived from risk areas and suffers from respiratory infection symptoms, instruct him/her to contact the health care unit first by phone and then follow the given instructions.
    • Instruct the personnel regarding remote working. Develop criteria when remote working is possible / necessary.
  • Traveling
    • Monitor your personnel’s business travel to risk destinations. Follow systematically the official travel advice published by your national government. .
    • Travel insurance: Check the terms and conditions of your company insurance. Ask trade mission participants to secure that their travel insurances are up to date and, if the event takes place in Europe, they have a European health insurance card (available for EU citizens and people legally residing in the EU). Instruct the personnel accordingly.
    • Remote working: Due to quickly changing travel restrictions, some of your employees might not be able to return home from their trips as soon as planned. Consequently, studios should consider further developing their distance working practices, so that potential exceptional situations have only a limited effect on the game development process.
    • Advice for staff returning from travel
      • Travelers returning from local epidemy areas (like Iran, Wuhan in China, Italian towns under containment measures, or Daegu or Cheongdo in South Korea in February 2020) should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Go home or to your destination and then self-isolate.
      • Travelers returning from countries with significant number of COVID 19 cases (like Japan, Vietnam, rest of China, rest of South Korea in February 2020) do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and caTravelers returning from other countries can continue to attend work unless they have been informed that they have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19,
  • During an epidemic:
    • Follow the instructions given by your local authorities as well as in those areas where your company operates and where the virus is spreading.
    • Health insurance: If your company provides health insurance for its employees, check its terms and conditions and instruct the personnel accordingly.
    • Allow sick employees to stay at home upon their own announcement (without the request to visit a doctor or get a medical certificate during their first days of sick leave).
    • Remote working: If local schools are closed due to a virus outbreak your employees might not be able to work from the office. Consequently, studios should consider further developing their distance working practices, so that potential exceptional situations have only a limited effect on the game development process.
    • Cleaning offices and public spaces: all surfaces that the infected personnel has come into contact with must be cleaned including:
      • all surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
      • all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephonesPublic areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected
      • All waste that has been in contact with the individual, including used tissues, and masks if used, should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied.
      • Check your crisis management plans: Even without emerging pandemy, it is a standard business practice to have a clear plan for addressing a serious illness or death of your employee or their close relatives.

For more information, see for example

 

 4) Players:

  • Re-scheduling events: Due to public quarantines, game developer studios are rescheduling their e-Sports tournaments and events in the affected regions.
  • Discounts: In order to help people to cope with indoor stress in quarantined cities, some game developer studios have offered free subscriptions and discounts.
  • Donations: Some studios have donated a share of their income for organizations fighting the global outbreak.

 

5) Best practices for game developer associations

Events
WHO and a number of industry events have published their official guidelines targeting virus outbreak. If you are organizing an international event:

  • planning phase
    • Follow the guidance from, or if you are organizing a major public gathering, establish direct links with, local and national public health authorities.
    • Have a risk-assessment plan for making the decision to proceed with an event or to restrict, modify, postpone or cancel the event
  • operational phase
    • Take an overall assessment of the local risk
    • Initiate normal flu season protocols (e.g. increased cleaning frequency and a better availability hand sanitizers)
    • Advice attendees and exhibitors to take everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses of any kind
      • See the WHO recommendations above
      • Recommend avoiding handshaking or excessive contact, a simple verbal greeting should be enough
      • wearing a face mask is recommended for participants who have respiratory symptoms (for example, cough)
    • inform about disease signs and symptoms, advice on self-monitoring for symptoms and signs for participants travelling from affected countries, including checking their temperature, and advice on self-isolation and not attending the event if symptoms develop;
    • advice about how to access local health care if necessary
  • post-event phase
    • Be prepared to contact event participants after the event, if needed: organizers also need to ensure that test results reported after the event are notified to the participant and, possibly, to the home country’s public health system.

In any case, as companies are reducing travelling either due to official travel restrictions or preventive company policies, it is recommended to prepare for last-minute speaker, exhibitor and participation cancellations. If the outbreak continues for a longer time, it is likely to have an impact on sponsor funding as well.

For more information, see for exampleWHO guidelines for mass gatherings

Trade missions
Travel insurance: Ask trade mission participants to secure that their travel insurances are up to date and, if the event takes place in Europe, they have a European health insurance card (available for EU citizens and people legally residing in the EU):
https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=563&langId=en

Travel restrictions: The latest information on air travel restrictions can be downloaded from here, please note that additional travel restrictions might apply
https://www.iata.org/en/programs/safety/health/diseases/government-measures-related-to-coronavirus/

Advice attendees and exhibitors to avoid travelling if they have fever and cough: See the point above about travel insurance.

Advice attendees and exhibitors to take everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses of any kind (see the WHO recommendations for basic protective measures above)

Prepare for potential financial losses: If the event is cancelled, it is likely that your insurance does not cover the financial losses. Consequently, if you have received public funding for your trade mission, it is strongly recommended to discuss beforehand with the public agencies how they address the force majeure situations of this kind.

 

About EGDF
The European Games Developer Federation e.f. (EGDF) unites national trade associations representing game developer studios based in Austria (PGDA), Belgium (FLEGA), Czechia (GDACZ), Denmark (Producentforeningen), Finland (Suomen pelinkehittäjät), France (SNJV), Germany (GAME), Malta (MVGSA), Netherlands (DGA), Norway (Produsentforeningen), Poland (PGA), Romania (RGDA), Spain (DEV), Sweden (Spelplan-ASGD), Slovakia (SGDA), Turkey (TOGED) and the United Kingdom (TIGA). Altogether, through its members, EGDF represents more than 2000 game developer studios, most of them SMEs, employing more than 25 000 people

 

For more information, please contact

Jari-Pekka Kaleva

COO, EGDF

jari-pekka.kaleva@egdf.eu