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Want to stay up to date in the association world? This blog will provide you with news about members, industry updates, trends and more!
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.
ASSOCIATION BUSINESS RESPONSE RESOURCES
CDC: Interim Business Response Guidance
The American Society of Employers: Sample Business Continuity Plan
ASSOCIATION/MEETING INDUSTRY RESOURCES
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 Resources: Event 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
MPI: Coronavirus 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.”
Welcome to the Pajama Brigade! Whether you long desired to work from home or have come to it reluctantly - we're all in the same boat now! The following list of resources was put together by fellow members of the Pajama Brigade to smooth the transition.
NOTE: This is all fluid and we are not endorsing any of the materials below. We are saying we think they might be useful.
Work from Home Policy, Tips, Tools and Amusing Distractions
· Global Workplace Analytics - Template telecommuting policy
· Workable - Employee remote work policy template
· Business News Daily - 5 issues your company’s remote work policy should address
· Human Resources MBA - What do HR managers need to know about telecommuting and employment law?
· Wordstream - 7 things nobody told you about working remotely
· Upturn Strategies - Lessons I learned from employees about telecommuting
These days, risk management is top of mind for association leaders. Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss event risk management with Jeff Tenenbaum. Jeff is one of the nation's leading association attorneys. He (literally) wrote the book on association tax compliance and currently sits on ASAE's Legal Advisory Council. Because Jeff is deeply involved in association issues, he's an excellent resource on some of the more complex and highly specific scenarios that associations are navigating.
During our conversation, Jeff made it clear that both associations and venues have a duty of care to host our members safely at face-to-face events in the context of COVID-19. He encourages associations to endeavor to obligate venues to take on significant, specific responsibilities to keep attendees safe - perhaps in the form of an addendum to the original contract that would, ideally, include indemnification of the association. (This may be more than venues are willing to do so we should expect some give and take on this.) Jeff also suggests it's a good idea to check in on your general commercial liability insurance policy to ensure that it contains legal defense coverage. All the better if the venue will also name the association in its general commercial liability policy.
People seem to fall into two categories when it comes to Coronavirus: those who are prepping for doomsday and those who are frustrated by the hype. In the very least, concerns of a possible pandemic can motivate us as association professionals to take a serious look at our preparedness for a crisis.
Employee health - Sometimes, employees feel like they have to report to work even if they're not feeling well due to workload or a big project. Check-in on your association's illness policy to make sure it's flexible enough to allow for not only employee illness but also their need to provide care to children and loved ones who may need extra help. Communicate your expectations of employees to stay home if they are sick, practice proper handwashing, and be mindful of the personal space of others. Provide kleenex and hand sanitizer for employee workstations or request that employees bring in their own. Ask your cleaning service to be particularly attentive to public areas, water coolers, handrails, light switches, and doorknobs...
With MSAE’s new organizational membership model, our membership has more than doubled to over 1,700 members. No longer are we an association just for the Chief Staff Executive…we’re here to serve the entire association staff. During the past year, we’ve created many new programs, webinars, peer-to-peer community of practice groups, and resources to address the needs of all staff levels.