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The Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) recognizes the current COVID-19 situation and is monitoring for potential impacts on our members and associations. While the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic today and Governor Whitmer has declared a state of emergency in Michigan, it is not yet clear how these declarations will impact business, meetings, and travel. MSAE will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted.

UPDATE: Governor Whitmer Issues Executive Order: Temporary prohibition on large assemblages and events, temporary school closures.


The full order can be viewed here.


CDC: Interim Business Response Guidance

The American Society of Employers: Sample Business Continuity Plan


Insurance Coverage for Event Cancellation Due to COVID-19 in Light of Pandemic Declaration 

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance

Clark Hill PLC COVID-19 ResourcesEvent Cancellation & Rebooking Sample Checklist

Small Business Association of Michigan: Daily COVID-19 Briefing at 3:00 P.M. EST
Event Garde: Working Remotely & Collaboratively

MICHIGAN.GOV: State Guidance for Employers Contemplating Potential Layoffs

ASAE: Work Share Program

MSAE Supplier Partners Standing Ready to Assist Associations 
Open Water’s Guide: How to Turn Your Physical Conference Virtual 
Open Water’s Checklist for Taking Your Physical Conference Virtual
Open Water’s Guide: Taking Your Physical Conference Virtual Video
Open Water’s Sample Spreadsheet for Organizing Your Virtual Event  

What Employers Should and Should not Say to Employees to Manage the Challenges of the Coronavirus

Event Garde: Event Cancellation & Rebooking Sample Checklist

CDC: Interim Guidance for Meeting Planners & Large Events
CDC: Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

Michigan Department of Health & Human Services: COVID- 19 Page

United Nations Department of Operational Support: COVID-19 Outbreak: Information for Meeting Participants

ASAE: COVID-19 Issue Roundup

ASAE: ASAE & Infectious Diseases Society of America COVID-19 Handouts

ASAE: Legal Strategies for Association Meetings

Events Industry Council: Insights

EventMB: Coronavirus: What You Need to Know About Cancelling an Event and Liability Risks

MPICoronavirus Resources for Meeting Professionals

PCMA: What Business Events Professionals Need to Know About the COVID-19 Coronavirus

IAEE: Official Statement

International Fact-Checking Network

Will Event Cancellation Insurance Cover the Coronavirus?

World Health Organization (WHO)


UPDATE: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends cancellation or postponement of large gatherings, conferences, and sporting events (e.g., greater than 100 people in a shared space).


In a press conference held late Wednesday afternoon, Governor Whitmer and MDHHS announced community mitigation strategies to slow the transmission of COVID-19 in Michigan that included guidance to avoid large gatherings. 


MDHHS Interim Recommendations for COVID-19 Community Mitigation Strategies can be viewed here.


The video of the press conference can be viewed here.


Before making a go/no-go decision for your meetings and events, Aaron Wolowiec from Event Garde recommends these steps:

·       Determine who has the authority to make these decisions in your association (CEO, board, etc.) and who has the authority to make decisions for your venue/property (sales manager, director of sales, general manager, regional/national salespersons, etc.) regarding cancellation and/or  rebooking.

·       Check with local health officials (health departments) within your meeting location to obtain their guidance related to large gatherings in their jurisdiction.

·       Closely review your contracts with venues/properties and consult with legal counsel before taking action. Look closely at force majeure, cancellation and rebooking clauses. Even without a rebooking clause, doing so may be an important negotiation strategy.  

·       Collect data related to the quantity and parameters of association members restricted by a travel ban. Being able to demonstrate that a significant proportion of meeting attendees are restricted by a travel ban may make a difference financially.

·       Develop your cancellation ‘To Do’ list and related communications before you actually need them. Identify someone to lead communications throughout the process.    

As of March 11, it is reported that the global death toll from the virus is now around 4,300. COVID-19 has infected over 119,500 people across the world and spread to more than 80 countries and territories so far.  There have been 30 reported deaths in the United States with over 1,000 reported cases.  Two cases are now being reported in Michigan (Wayne County – domestic travel identified and currently in isolation; Oakland County – international travel identified and under review by county officials).

Governor Whitmer has declared a state of emergency to maximize efforts and assist local governments and officials to slow the spread of the virus.  “We are taking every step we can to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep Michiganders safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “I have declared a state of emergency to harness all of our resources across state government to slow the spread of the virus and protect families. It’s crucial that all Michiganders continue to take preventative measures to lower their risk, and to share this information with their friends, family, and co-workers.”

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