We are experiencing a new normal as we cope with the impact of COVID-19 and work to flatten the curve. We remain concerned for our families, our friends, our communities and for our country as a whole. And we are deeply saddened by the loss of life and hope for the recovery of those who have contracted this virus.

Our bridge players, club owners, instructors, volunteers, bridge organizations and staff are also experiencing a new normal. Clubs have closed and many sectionals and regionals have been canceled, including the NABC in Columbus. 

In District 17, all sectionals have been canceled through early May along with the Phoenix NLM Gold Rush Regional. To my knowledge, all clubs have closed. 

The financial impact is very real

From an ACBL perspective, the NABC Columbus was to operate at a slight loss. Further loss will be minimal due in part to an order announced by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and signed by Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton prohibiting mass gatherings in Ohio. 

Regardless, the ACBL’s three main income sources -- membership dues, tournament income and club sanction fees -- have been significantly reduced. All are working hard to preserve assets and to plan for the future.
The vast majority of clubs have rent obligations which will compound the longer they stay closed. The clubs are our backbone and it is my hope that we do all we can to support them. 

Here's what we can do today

As we maintain social distancing guidelines, we can support our clubs and the ACBL by participating in the Support Your Club ACBL Black Point Game via Bridge Base Online. Games are held daily at 10 am, 5 pm and 7:30 pm EST. Out of every $5 entry that is purchased, $4 will be distributed to the clubs.  https://www.acbl.org/clubsupportonlinegames/ 

The ACBL is also working to give ACBL members the option to play in games limited to their local clubs. A few clubs are already online and helping BBO and the ACBL with the rollout. More clubs will be added as more directors are available and club managers are trained. Significant progress is being made.

Board motions

The ACBL Board of Directors was to hold its board meetings in Columbus the week of March 16. Instead, we conducted business via webinars during the same time frame. The BoD and various committees will continue to conduct business via webinars between now and the NABC Montreal scheduled for July. 

The passing of Item 201-49 to reorganize the board -- reducing its size from 25 members to 13 members -- is of great significance. This reduction would occur gradually over the next few years. Except for date changes, it is substantially the same motion that failed last November. Because it includes bylaw changes, it requires a second reading with a two-thirds positive vote, and approval by the Board of Governors to take effect. This second reading will occur in Montreal. 

Like District 7 and 9, District 17 will not be combined with another district and will become Region 10.

I had concerns over whether a smaller board would be effective when compared to a larger board and if a smaller board would reflect the diversity of our membership. I spent much time reviewing the pros and the cons of the plan as well as others that were presented. Although I agree that it is not perfect, I voted yes. It is time to move forward and to focus on the rough road ahead. 

A Transition Task Force will continue under the direction of the Governance Committee to work with management to transfer non-core responsibilities from the Board of Directors. Non-core responsibilities include program activities and topics integral to the mission of the organization, exclusive of Executive, Audit, Finance, Strategy, Executive Director Review and Governance. 

On March 20, a motion was passed regarding the rescheduling of the NAP and the GNT finals. The 2020 NAP Finals will be held at the Montreal Summer 2020 NABC. The 2020 GNT Finals will be held at the Tampa Fall 2020 NABC. The details of the Finals, including the scheduling of those events, will be established by management at a later date. The deadline for the completion of District GNT Finals will be October 1, 2020. 

We are experiencing stressful times as we adjust to a new normal. But through it all, one message remains clear: we are community, we are resilient and we will prevail. 

As always, I am here to answer your questions and to address your concerns.
Take care and stay safe,

Cindy Shoemaker
ACBL National Board Representative