Dear Chamber members and friends,
Over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many Chamber programs to transition to virtual platforms and in a few instances, caused cancellation all together. After 18 months of virtual meetings and events, there has been widespread excitement for events and conferences that we have come to know and love are returning in their more traditional format. Unfortunately, increased positivity rates due to the Delta variant, plateauing vaccination rates, and renewed mask mandates are causing many to question the future of upcoming events.
Late summer and fall has always been an extremely busy time for the Chamber and flagship events such as the Signature Event and Economic Forecast are often held during this time. This year we have the Cyber Conference and YP Summit added to the mix. In particular, the Cyber Conference and the announcement recently made by Meriwether Post Pavilion (MPP) has generated questions around vaccinations and negative COVID testing. In communicating with MPP management, we have been informed that our event is private in nature and does not fall under the auspices of MPP programming. Thus, the provision of mandatory COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test is left to our discretion.
Throughout the pandemic, the Chamber has followed public health guidance and the laws that govern Howard County and the state of Maryland. That being said, the Chamber intends to hold our late summer and fall programming in an “in person” format and when possible, provide a virtual option or hold the event at an outdoor venue. Should the County Executive provide alternative directives, we will adhere to those. When it comes to mask, we will follow the directives of the host venue. Mandated or not, we always encourage members and guest to do what makes them feel comfortable and if that is wearing a mask, by all means please use your preferred discretion. If you prefer a fist bump or elbow rub to a handshake, then do so. We will continue to encourage those that are unvaccinated to wear a mask whether or event is inside or not. We will also have extra masks and hand sanitizer on site.
I thank your continued support and I look forward to seeing you in the near future whether on screen or in person. If you have any questions regarding Chamber programs and our decisions, do not hesitate to contact me as I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-878-1234.
Leonardo McClarty, CCE
President, Howard County Chamber