By Margie Moulin, President APCO International
I write to each of you to discuss APCO 2021
that starts Sunday, August 15, in San Antonio, as it relates to the new emerging threat of the COVID Delta variant. Like you, the elected officers of APCO and APCO staff have been paying close attention to the steady stream of news concerning this new Delta variant that appears to be more contagious than some of the other variants. We have been in contact with the City of San Antonio Convention Center as well as host hotels for our conference. We are also monitoring guidance from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Additionally, we just updated our conference health and safety page
and I encourage each of you to review what is in place for your safety and health in San Antonio. Lastly, we have created the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
that you can use to notify our staff of any personal safety issues you may encounter in San Antonio, as well as any health issues you may develop. We will have a first aid office in the Convention Center, and each hotel has health protocols in place, should you become ill. If you feel ill while in your hotel room, call the hotel operator. If you feel ill while at the Convention Center, stop by the first aid office located in Exhibit Hall 1, Room H1-02.
We will have hand sanitizing stations set up throughout the Convention Center and encourage you to use those stations regularly. We have also set up seating options for all of our plenary sessions where you will likely be able to sit with a group that you are comfortable with. While there are still some larger rows of seating, there are also smaller seating sections with five and three seat set-ups. For our meals, we have reduced tables to six places rather than the normal eight or ten to allow more distancing. Again, find a group to sit with that you are comfortable with.
Now, as to the mask debate. To wear or not to wear. We are about eighteen months into this pandemic. Many of us are vaccinated. Some of us aren’t. Further, we all know our comfort levels regarding these situations. APCO encourages all attendees that haven’t been vaccinated to wear a mask during the event for your safety and the safety of others. Additionally, there may be times that even if you are vaccinated you might feel more comfortable wearing a mask, such as while on buses, etc. If you feel more comfortable in various situations wearing a mask, even if you are vaccinated, then by all means put your mask on. If you feel ill while at conference - fever, headache, etc. - we encourage you to stay in your hotel room for your health and the health of fellow attendees. It is up to all of us to take personal responsibility for our health and safety while in San Antonio. Your association has put as many safeguards as is reasonably possible in place to provide for a safe and healthy atmosphere while at APCO 2021. Now it’s up to all of us to do our part individually to protect ourselves and our colleagues.
The APCO events team as well as the corporate outreach department have been working tirelessly getting ready for us to arrive in San Antonio starting next week and we are all excited to see old friends, make new ones and enjoy a conference as only APCO International can do. Make preparations now to stay safe and healthy while enjoying all that APCO and San Antonio have to offer.
Travel safely and see you soon,