To Our IFEA Industry Friends:
It has not been our intent to remain silent on the current and growing COVID 19 (coronavirus) outbreaks now confirmed in some 70 countries around the world, in every global region, and in ten U.S. states. Like all of you, we have been tracking and following the global news and responses to the disease, as well as communicating with our Association Alliance Partners and key government agency contacts and representatives to try and get the best handle on a quickly evolving challenge. Because this virus is new to everyone, there are no substantial template examples or directions that can be offered, other than normal safety guidelines for avoiding other illnesses, like the flu.
Because the disease is progressing at different rates, in different global regions and countries, the first advice from all sources is to be in direct touch with your local health and government officials, and to follow whatever protocol they are establishing and requesting. In some countries large mass gatherings, including festivals and events, along with corporate meetings, theme parks, religious gatherings, and travel to/from those locations have been cancelled to protect against the further spread of the virus, with others (like the Olympic Games) watching very closely. In North America, there has not yet been any mandatory directions given at this point, but all businesses and schools and the general populace have been advised that they should discuss and make plans in the event that closures become necessary moving forward.
For festivals and events, should the virus continue to spread and grow, the options will likely be a short list: to proceed as normal, with messaging regarding prevention steps (as against the flu) to your attendees; or, to cancel/postpone. Obviously, the latter would be devastating financially to most everyone in our industry, but if you are planning for your response or revisiting your risk management plans, that is the primary conversation that you should be having. If you are able to hold your events as normal, remember that our industry/events provide a unique opportunity to educate large numbers of attendees about the current state of the virus and how to maintain healthy lifestyles to prevent/limit the further spread of the COVID 19 (coronavirus) in your own community.
Now would also be a good time to talk with your insurance carriers, just to clarify if and what coverage you may have against any potential need for mandatory cancellation under these unique circumstances.