The health and well-being of our members, government agencies and the communities we serve is of utmost importance. However, the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented challenges for in-person meetings because of the risk of spreading the virus. The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) National Board, staff and partners are committed to monitoring the latest advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local health authorities, event venues, partners and our members to plan for a safe way forward.
We have officially postponed our CGMP courses through the CDC’s recommended 8 weeks, even though these classes are much smaller than 50 attendees. We are working with our St. Louis partners to determine the best course of action for the 2020 NEC, as the CDC recommends no gatherings of 50 people or more for 8 weeks. Updates will be provided as soon as decisions are made.
Please check www.sgmp.org/blog for updates.
We all have a role to play to limit the spread of contagious illnesses like coronavirus. We encourage you to help limit exposure to illnesses by following CDC’s disease prevention guidelines.
As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol – and rub your hands for at least 20 seconds with the hand sanitizer. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
We must all be vigilant about our current state of health and we encourage you to observe any travel restrictions from your physician, local health authority or employer. If you become ill or if attending an SGMP event would put your family or workplace at inordinate risk, we urge you to consider not attending. Here’s a link to the CDC’s Guidelines for Mass Gatherings.
Despite these troubling times, together, we can weather this storm while staying true to our mission to enhance and promote the expertise of government meeting professionals. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com or 703-549-0892. Our SGMP staff are all working remotely, so if you do not reach someone immediately, rest assured your call will be returned. Below you’ll find a list of resources for responding to the COVID-19 threat.
Michelle A. Milligan, MSW, LMSW, CGMP
National Board President, SGMP
Pamela A. Valenzuela, CAE
Executive Director, SGMP
The following are resources we have curated to help our members as they address the threat of COVID-19 during their work on government meetings.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Organizes the U.S. response to the coronavirus threat with health updates, prevention and mitigation plans, and guidance for mass gatherings.
- U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs – Offers travel advisories and updates related to coronavirus.
- World Health Organization – Global surveillance and guidance to prevent and mitigate coronavirus.
- American Society of Association Executives – a curated roundup of coronavirus education and resources.
- Events Industry Council – Coronavirus-related resources, including webinars such as “Critical insurance and legal considerations for event professionals.”
- Meetings Mean Business Coalition – Toolkit for coronavirus preparedness and response.
- U.S. Travel Association – Toolkit for emergency preparedness and response to COVID-19.