BeerNow is still on for August 7 – 8 in Austin as scheduled.
We at Zephyr Conferences have three steps we take to determine if we will run a conference during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can We Legally Operate the Event?
We are subject to state, county, and city ordinances regarding conferences. The restrictions that apply to us are generally whether hotels are open and whether group gatherings are allowed. Hotels in Texas are considered essential businesses for housing overnight guests and are open. However, under the current Texas orders, non-essential group gatherings are banned and, thus, Beer Now is not legally able to operate. Because this is changing rapidly, we will continue to monitor the situation to see when this changes and whether such a change gives our attendees, speakers, and sponsors time to participate in the conference.
Can We Safely Operate the Event?
Once we are legally allowed to operate a conference in Austin, we also need to be confident we can safely conduct it. We have created a page of Safety Procedures for our conferences to guide us and assure you. For Beer Now specifically, if we are able to hold the event this year we will very likely limit attendance so we can increases social distancing spacing in our main conference room.
Do Our Attendees, Speakers, and Sponsors Wish to Attend?
Ultimately, the decision on whether we run a conference rests with you. To date, we have had only one sponsor, two speakers, and no attendees withdraw. The sponsor postponed to 2021 for economic reasons due to the current recession. That shows amazing support. In addition, we checked with attendees in our Alumni Group on Facebook and the comments were overly supportive in running the event this year.
Cancel or Postpone
As such, we are reasonably confident we will be able to run Beer Now in 2020 and are just monitoring state and city rules. If we do have to cancel or postpone the conference, we will consider the option of moving it to the fall. This could be especially appealing with the cancellation of the GABF. If we postpone to the fall or 2021, the event will stay in Austin.
Kevin Holsapple says
I haven’t canceled yet because it is still too far out there to try to guess what the situation will be. As for reservations (other than my conference reservation), I think I can cancel as little as three weeks in advance with no charge. What is the situation with the conference reservation? Do I get a full refund if I cancel? Is there a deadline I should be tracking? I enjoy the conferences, but I would likely not come if it seemed to pose an inadvisable health risk or if the format were so different from what I’m accustomed to that it didn’t sound like it would be as interesting as in the past (due to social distancing, less experiential activity, etc.)
Allan Wright says
Hi Kevin and everyone,
I suggest we all hang tight. We are working hard to come up with a conference that is safe, fun, and educational. We are still over two months out and are shooting for a decision within two weeks.
Tracy Mitchell Griggs says
Covid cases are rising all over the south. Regardless of whether you run or postpone, what have you established for remote, live streaming events. keynotes, etc for those that can’t attend regardless of or because of Covid?
We have not yet thought about whether we would remote and live stream everything or anything. At the moment, we are focused on getting the conference to run. If it can’t run in person, we would definitely consider doing it entirely virtual.
Doug E Piper Sr says
I would agree with adding a virtual option. These are uncertain times and if the show must go on …..having virtual as an option is about the only way of ensuring that.