Two words are on the tips of everyone’s tongue these days: Delta variant. Just when we thought it was safe to open back up, there is already talk about lockdowns and the reinstatement of statewide mandates to help keep the spread of this new variant under control.
This is, of course, the last thing event planners want to hear. The past 18 months have been extremely hard on our industry, and everyone has been itching to get back to planning and attending in-person events.
At J.Shay Events, we’re doing everything we can to help our clients move forward with in-person event planning. The data is clear: as long as we are safe and use the necessary precautions, there is no reason why in-person events can’t go on as planned.
Having said that, we’re also aware that some states/governors are already starting to tighten their restrictions. But there are also plenty of states that are wide open with governors that have stated they have no intention of reinstating statewide mandates.
So the key is, when planning your next trade show, conference or incentive travel getaway, to steer clear of those states that already have tightened restrictions, or are more than likely to tighten in the near future.
State Restrictions for Event Planners
According to the official numbers, the cases of the Delta variant are increasing in the state of Mississippi. As a response to these numbers, the state’s Department of Health has released new guidelines that encourage people to avoid large gatherings, wear masks and social distance.
In our opinion, anytime a state “encourages” people to avoid large gatherings, it is most likely a preamble to states requiring everyone avoid large gatherings. Best to steer clear of Mississippi when planning your next event.
The Show-Me-State has always been a great location to hold events, particularly in cities like Kansas City and St. Louis, where the food and music scene are on point! Gov. Parson let his statewide mandates lapse earlier in the summer and is now leaving mandates up to local governments moving forward. St. Louis reinstated its indoor mask mandate back in July, regardless of vaccine status. Our feeling is, most likely St. Louis will enact further restrictions with Kansas City potentially following suit.
Shortly after the CDC announced their new masking recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, Gov. Murphy issued a statement where he “strongly recommended” indoor masks for all people.
Soon after, he mandated masks be worn by students, teachers and all staff this coming school year as an answer to the Delta variant and new cases cropping up. The state is also seriously considering mandating vaccinations for all teachers.
Again, in our option, having seen how things have gone in other states, the Garden state is a top candidate for locking down again, and we suggest you avoid planning any events there for the foreseeable future.
Sin City! What a great place to hold an event thanks to the food and entertainment options. But recently, Gov. Sisolak reinstated mask mandates regardless of vaccination status. He is also asking venues to work with his office when planning large gatherings to keep everyone safe. That’s a red flag for us because it adds another layer to the event planning process.
While New Orleans is called The Big Easy, it’s not going to be easy planning an event there anytime soon, we don’t think. Recently Gov. Edwards reinstated statewide mask mandates, regardless of vaccination status. And with the state apparently being hit the hardest with the Delta variant, all indications are that more mandates are coming down the pipeline.
Phoenix and Tucson have always been great places to host corporate events. But recently, after the CDC updated their guidance on masking, both cities reinstated their indoor mask mandates. While Gov. Ducey does not intend to impose statewide mandates, I would keep an eye on these two cities as they may begin buckling down on big events.
The state of California is one of the most beautiful and diverse. They really have it all: awesome beaches, beautiful weather, sophisticated cities and even the magic of Hollywood.
But the state is also one to throw down the gauntlet when it comes to Covid mandates. Los Angeles county was the first in the country to reinstate mask mandates regardless of vaccination status. The state is also the first in the country to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for teachers. In other words, California isn’t kidding around and in our opinion, it’s only a matter of time before lockdowns come back into play.
To play it safe, we recommend not planning any events in the state for the foreseeable future.
This is not an exhaustive list of states that seem to be tightening their restrictions, but these are the ones that may start shutting down before the others. If you are still hoping to plan in-person events, our recommendation is to steer clear of these states.
And if the Delta variant and planning events during this chaotic time is causing you massive headaches and to binge eat, reach out to us. Right now, we are helping event planners keep their sanity by doing all of the heavy lifting for them. Sound like something that might make your life easier?
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J.Shay Team is the generic alias for our event staff that want to submit work anonymously.