PCMA’s COVID-19 Crisis Management and Recovery Plan
PCMA’s commitment to business events recovery.
Sherrif Karamat, CAE
Like all of you, we continue to receive updates on the escalating global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on people’s lives and on the business events industry.
And, like all of you, we are saddened by the tragic loss of life and the thought of tens of thousands who have been sickened by this virus. But we must remain hopeful that an unprecedented global collaboration of government, scientific, health, business and social leaders will succeed in containing its spread, providing care to those afflicted and developing a vaccine to prevent future outbreaks. We believe resolutely in the power of people to come together to solve any crisis. Indeed, bringing people together to address challenges is the bedrock of our industry.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the business events industry is directly feeling the effects of this outbreak. While the short-term economic impact of postponed or canceled events on communities and businesses is a significant concern, the disruption of business events could also have an equal, if not larger, global social impact in terms of halting the sharing of critical knowledge — across every industry sector and profession — that propels our society forward.
PCMA cannot take a wait-and-see approach in this global crisis. There is simply too much at stake for our industry and for all those for whom business events and our overlapping industry sectors support their economic and social well-being. We must take a proactive role.
Informed by our PCMA community’s frontline experience with managing the business events industry’s response to health crises in Toronto (SARS) and Mexico (H1N1), we have begun to activate a plan in consultation with our partners. Our plan is anchored in the belief that business events must play a role in contributing to the solution — not the spread — of this crisis. That means business events, first and foremost, must step up efforts to keep their participants and their host communities safe from the spread of COVID-19 during this outbreak in order to do our part to aid the global recovery.
What We’re Doing Now
We are providing those in the business events community with the most relevant information and resources to help inform their response to the impact of the crisis:
This starts with our constantly updated resource webpage — What Business Event Professionals Need to Know About the COVID-19 Coronavirus — on COVID-19’s impact on business events and how business events professionals are responding. You will find helpful information on measures to prevent the spread of infection at events, answers to questions about contracting and insurance, and crisis management best practices, shared by some of the world’s leading business events practitioners.
The timing for post-recovery efforts is uncertain, but we will be prepared and ready once global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), give the world the “all clear” signal.
Our job will then be to help restore global confidence and assure business events stakeholders that the virus no longer presents a threat. While the full extent of the impact of the outbreak cannot be known at this time, we know from experience that a stigma about travel risks will remain, particularly related to China. That must be confronted head on.
PCMA will help convey the message that business events are not only safe, but a vital component to widespread economic recovery. We have been in ongoing discussions with business events leaders in China to collaborate around the development of a plan. This will be based, in part, on learnings that came out of the SARS and H1N1 recovery plans. We will also share crisis response research from the PCMA Foundation and engage PCMA’s global network of partners to support this effort.
We invite anyone with an interest in supporting PCMA’s business events recovery plan to connect with us at Sherrif.Karamat@pcma.org.
This remains a very fluid situation. We have no crystal ball. Nevertheless, PCMA is prepared and resolute in our commitment to leading our global business events community — in collaboration with our network of equally committed partners — through this crisis and forward into recovery.