MACo Statement on Safety Protocols for the 2021 Winter Conference
The health and safety of our community, staff, and event attendees is MACo’s highest priority. As we continue to monitor guidance related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations, we are committed to taking appropriate precautions to provide a safe environment that does not place our staff or event attendees at undue risk. At this time, the CDC has not indicated in any way that organizations in the United States should consider postponing or canceling events.
As a precautionary measure, MACo is actively working with the conference venue (the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel) to increase sanitization practices and healthy habits for all events. For more information on best practices for prevention, please visit the CDC coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.
At this time, MACo announces the following safety measures in effect for our December 8-10, 2021, Winter Conference – these measures may be updated based on changing conditions, and MACo will notify all participants accordingly:
- MACo strongly recommends that attendees wear masks indoors – regardless of vaccination status – in accordance with current CDC guidelines. At this time, local guidelines do not require the wearing of masks indoors, but MACo joins all public health entities in recognizing that mask-wearing is effective in reducing exposure and risk.
We strongly recommend and encourage mask-wearing indoors at the MACo Winter Conference.
- There are no limitations on the number of conference attendees, but exhibit booths are limited to 4 staff per booth registration. ONLY registered participants (attendees, exhibitors, speakers/moderators) will be allowed past the registration kiosks in the Conference Center.
- Daily health screenings will NOT be required, however we ask all participants to self-monitor for the symptoms of COVID-19 listed on the CDC website, including a fever or chills, flu-like symptoms, new loss of taste and/or smell, and we ask that participants exercise extreme caution by not participating in the conference or interacting with conference guests if experiencing any potential symptoms.
- Social distancing in all areas of the venue is encouraged and recommended – room and space layouts will be optimized to facilitate distancing.
- Diligent hand hygiene is strongly recommended – hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the venue and MACo suggests foregoing handshakes.
- Visible safety signage and social distancing reminders will be posted throughout the building.
- No children are allowed in the Conference Center at any time.
- MACo is striving for a “paper-light” event to reduce touch-points at the conference – there will be no speaker handouts and MACo will print a limited number of program booklets, instead focusing on an event mobile app for additional materials and session schedule. PLEASE BRING A MOBILE DEVICE and your charger – a charging station will also be provided in the main foyer.
- Refunds of conference registration fees will be granted in full if an attendee chooses to cancel their registration due to possible exposure prior to the event, potential symptoms prior to or at the event, or general discomfort with attending the conference due to changing COVID conditions.
- MACo reminds participants that non-conference guests may be in the hotel, and we urge participants to exercise caution in all indoor public spaces and if attending offsite events, recognizing that there is increased exposure to the public at these venues.
Given the evolving nature of COVID-19, MACo will continue to closely monitor developments. In addition to safeguarding the health and safety of our event attendees and employees, we remain committed to providing clear and timely communications leading up to and at our events. Should we receive information from the CDC or local health department that would prompt us to make adjustments to our event schedule, we will immediately notify all impacted parties via email and post regular updates on our website.
For questions regarding MACo’s Winter Conference, please contact MACo Deputy Director Virginia White.