Our response to Covid-19
Like everyone else in the known universe, the global pandemic made us crazy for the better part of a year. We swung like a pendulum between exercising extreme vigilance and showing a middle finger. But with each passing day this spring, we felt more optimistic about our prospects of being able to meet in person and set a standard for hosting a true hybrid conference. Across the summer our enthusiasm turned to nervous apprehension, and now we watch the spike in cases with a mix of dread and frustration. Nonetheless, we remain confident in the strength and integrity of our protocols.
We have set our expectation for in-person attendance at 100-125, about half of normal, with an open-ended enrollment for our virtual audience. Our plan for in person involves the following conditions:
- Proof of vaccination to enter the conference area
- Dedicated sterilization crew with continual wipedowns of surfaces and omnipresent hand sanitization
- Sensible distancing protocols, including limiting attendance to 50% of normal
- Face coverings optional while in the conference area (unless conditions change which make this untenable)
- Mandate that all hotel personnel in the conference space be masked.
Our decision to move forward with in-person is based on our careful study of relevant data, prepared in this brief by our staff paramedic, who will be on site with us. If we conclude that an in-person experience is no longer viable, all those who have registered for it will see their registration converted to virtual with a prompt rebate of the difference in registration price.
We are watching closely all of the barometers of our world-wide health, most notably the Delta variant and the relative risk that it poses to vaccinated individuals. We are also following the machinations of Florida politics, including the recent decree made by the governor of Florida that it should be forbidden to establish proof of vaccination as a condition to attend an event. We have confirmed with local authorities and hotel personnel that private groups are exempt from this decree. Wyndham personnel not only support our vaccination-required policy, they are grateful for it.
Pinellas County has its own Covid track record and it has consistently outperformed the state of Florida at large. Read more about the County’s protocols.
Politics aside, we are thrilled and excited to be blazing this trail with you. As long as we believe that it remains safe to move forward, we will continue in that direction.