According to show leaders, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance will ask attendees to its Connect event to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid. This is in preparation for the first in-person trade fair in over 600 days, a report said.
Rich Hill, Grassroots‘ executive director, stated that there are no exceptions. “I feel a personal responsibility to those who attend our event.”
Hill stated that approximately 1,300 people have registered for the show in Kansas City, Mo. on November 8-11. More interest is coming in every day. Hill stated that Grassroots leadership is still deciding how vaccination proof will be collected from attendees. However, Hill indicated that the team will “gather research” through September before making a decision on logistics. Hill stated that vaccination “proof” could be as easy as signing an honor-system promise. It could be more complex, with third-party authentication.
Hill said that, so far, about 95 percent of show registrants–including retailers, brand exhibitors, and sales reps–have responded positively to the news. The remaining 5 percent are vocal in their opposition.
Hill stated that most of the reps have been in that 5 percent. Hill was not surprised. “We had one case where a rep from a certain agency refused vaccination, and the band fired them on the spot after learning about it.”
Hill is positive that the decision has increased the interest in the show. He said that many people saw it as them taking on a leadership role. It added to the show’s potential attendance, I believe.”
Hill announced that the invitation-only trade show will offer a new policy for refunds in light of Covid uncertainty. Any exhibitor who cancels their show registration before October 1 will receive a full refund of all deposit funds.
Hill stated that “We are aware there are still legitimate reasons for travel anxiety, and we are doing our best to address them head-on.” Hill said that Connect has a long list of safety and health considerations.
“Even our contingency plan has contingency planning. It’s safe for me to say that many of these considerations will become best practices for gatherings in 2022.”