Can We Work This Out?
With the presidential election behind us, meeting professionals have something new to argue about: Is it irresponsible, with Covid cases rampant across the country, to hold in-person meetings? The topic has unleashed fierce opinions, both for and against.
Should we be praised for holding live events that demonstrate best practices and protocols, thus educating others to hold safe meetings themselves? Or are the risks simply too great, given that people don’t always follow the rules? To what extent are we, as meeting hosts, to blame if our event becomes a superspreader?
I’ve been asking these loaded questions for the past few weeks. Read the resulting article here.
What’s your take? Should we or shouldn’t we meet? That’s just one of the timely questions we asked in Northstar’s latest Pulse Survey, which has been tracking planners' experiences and sentiments since March. A sneak peek at early results shows almost two-thirds of you think we can meet face-to-face, provided health and safety measures are enforced.
Now, Back to Politics
The Biden administration is poised to enact policies that would benefit the travel and meetings industry, beginning with a federal response to Covid-19. If Biden keeps his promises, the hospitality industry will get some relief, believes Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy for the U.S. Travel Association.
"The President-elect's plan to put first and foremost the health and safety needs of the country is paramount to reopening the economy," Barnes told me last week. (For more on what to expect from the new administration, read “What a Biden Presidency Will Mean for Travel and Meetings.”)
Measures that will affect our industry aren't confined to one party or the other. Both Trump and Biden support policies that would be good for the travel industry — and others that might not be good. Blue or red, left or right, we can all agree that travel supports jobs and the economy. And until we can control the spread of the virus, nothing will get better. Even with a vaccine, we’ll be grappling with Covid-19 for at least a year or two, if not more.
Let’s also agree on this: When we do get together, we’ll do so safely. That’s on us. The outgoing administration has not prioritized the simplest tool at our disposal: wearing face masks. The Biden administration will. But we don’t need a federal mandate to do the right thing, and to insist that participants do too. That’s the only way we’ll get closer to 100 percent agreement that face-to-face events can — and should — resume.