What factors were considered when making the decision?
The health and safety of the members, staff and affiliate groups was the primary reason for the Board of Governors decision to move the Annual Meeting to a virtual platform. Many factors were considered in the decision including:
Current city and state restrictions on group gatherings.
A statewide order has been issued for Illinois residents to stay at home or in their place of residence. The order requires all residents to stay home, unless traveling for essential needs or business, and requires businesses not engaged in essential activities to cease all activities except for minimum basic operations. The Order took effect on Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m., across the State of Illinois and will remain in place until the Governor’s Disaster Proclamation expires on May 30. Learn more about what this means for residents and businesses
Under the stay at home order gatherings of any kind larger than ten (10) people are prohibited, and hotels are only to be used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services. Although any restrictions on gatherings beyond May 30 are currently unclear, the Governor of Illinois has expressed concern about large groups of people gathering until there is a vaccine.
Limitation on air travel.
The US domestic flight schedules were reduced by 90% at the end of March and are currently down 80% from last April. Airlines are adding some capacity back in certain destinations and plan to be back close to normal by end of the summer. Airlines continue to serve all destinations domestically, currently just at a reduced capacity. They are deep cleaning aircraft, have modified boarding and on-board services to comply with social distancing recommendations. They have waived seating restrictions and have blocked 50% of all center seats allowing passengers more distancing. In addition, many states currently have self-quarantine orders for travelers flying and/or driving from pandemic hot spots. A list of state to state restrictions can be found in the New York Times article.
Social distancing practices being implemented by our hotel partners.
The expectation is that during the month of July there will still be social distancing guidelines in place limiting our ability to do proper room sets, hold meal functions, networking and social events, and maneuver easily throughout the hotel. There will also be restrictions and limitations in place on hotel food services and amenities.