If you would have told me on March 13, 2020, the day we shut everything down, that on September 11, 2020 we would still be in shut down mode, I would have never believed it... not in a million years.
It is no coincidence that I am writing this blog today - September 11, 2020. This date, 19 years ago, changed the world and the event industry FOREVER. I was days away from leaving to head to Orlando to manage a large Corporate conference, over 1500 attendees were expected. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. Flights halted. Hotel reservations cancelled. An industry turned upside down. We scrambled, people were scared. Hotel contracts and safety protocols changed forever.
The world united. We stood together. We mourned together. And we recovered together. Strong, resilient. We held the memory in our hearts and we slowly, but surely, began to move forward.
As an industry we came together and worked with our hotel and convention partners to develop new guidelines and contract considerations that protected us all. We pivoted, quickly and within a matter of a couple of months, we were back at it. Things were different, yes. But we recovered... and the industry began to put the pieces back together and got back to the business of doing events.
Please do not misunderstand my purpose for this blog. I am no way comparing the tragedy of 9/11 to the complicated tragedy of COVID and the many lives that have been lost. I am simply reflecting on past experience with industry shut down and recovery.
This article did a great job of articulating it:
So now, let's flash forward to COVID. It has been nearly 6 months since we shut down. Six months. Let that sink in. We are no closer to recovery today and as it stands right now, from my perspective, we can see no end in sight. We are bracing for the Fall and Winter. Flu + COVID. What can we expect? Outdoor events are going to wain as the weather turns colder... so where does that leave the event industry? An industry that has already been decimated is bracing for what - total annihilation?
While micro events, drive through events and virtual events are a great way to pivot, they do little to fill the revenue void organizations, like mine, are facing. We look to our legislators and political leaders to help sustain us and get us through this, with our businesses in tact - yet they are failing us.
Democrats & Republicans cannot come to an agreement. They fail to compromise and have adopted an "all or nothing" approach....while we flounder. If another round of PPP is not approved soon, business like mine will be forced to close. How can we survive another six months without this support? Employees remain on furlough, offices remain empty (yet, rent is due). It is irresponsible that those we have voted into office cannot put there differences aside and do what is best for those they have sworn to represent.
Personally, I have called, written, emailed and called again. I have signed every petition and participated in every CALL TO ACTION. I will continue to do this. But, to what end?
We are six months and counting. Holding on. Still hopeful. Still here - knowing that we are blessed to be a part of an amazing industry of hard working professionals who will bounce back once this is over - stronger than ever, just like we did after 9/11. We truly are in this together and I stand with my brothers and sisters in this industry and say to you all, what I say to myself every single day. HANG IN THERE - WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS.