Let’s be honest. The COVID-19 pandemic is here. Speculation of what this means to an outdoor event, and what level of impact our communities will be experiencing on June 6th is unknown, specifically – will it be safe to host this event?
Let’s go with what we do know instead:
Effective today, the State of Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont, issued Executive Order 7 – Notably – “Prohibition of Large Gatherings. Throughout the State, gatherings of 250 people or more for social and recreational activities including, but not limited to, community, civic, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; movie screenings; plays or performances; conventions; and similar activities; are prohibited. Such prohibition shall remain in effect until midnight on April 30, 2020, unless modified by a future Executive Order.” Although our Picnic doesn’t anticipate attendance of 250 people, it would be remiss not to acknowledge this prohibition and evaluate for its net effect; health and safety. Also, this may preempted by the closure of Wickham Park, should it fall under the criteria of the Executive Order 7 prohibition, or a future order, or the discretion of Wickham Park.
Next, let’s discuss feasibility, and our responsibility to our guests and ourselves. Our Picnic does self-impose health and safety standards to ensure food served to you is safe, and our event is produced in consideration of your comfort and safety. Now, examining what might be needed, or altered, to ensure we could produce the event with coronavirus in mind, such as additional health and sanitation steps, and fundamental change of the event, we come into some considerations. Some of these include an increased serving staff, increased use of disposable utensils, serving containers, and other equipment, increased personal protection requirements, alteration of dining footprint, discontinuation of several communal events and activities, modification to food purchasing expense, such as individual portion snacks and beverages – just to name a few items we could implement. As we have had this discussion, it appears that going ahead with these measures would have a few results – event cost would increase, the enjoyment of the event would be impacted, and despite our best efforts, people could still spread coronavirus easily.
We strive to ensure the health and safety that would be within our scope of influence or control, and even could implement the most stringent steps, but individuals who may present with no symptoms, either before or after being symptomatic of COVID-19 (or not), could still attend the event, and inadvertently spread coronavirus to others by any means of transmission. So, even with all the steps we could take, the interaction and behavior of our guests could undermine our precautions without much effort.
Facing life head on – it’s how we’ve come to appreciate this event and how we’ve continued to be successful growing it, even after personal events impacted us as organizers and the 2017 Furry Picnic cancellation. We like to be honest, transparent, and communicate sooner then later – proactive. 2020 is no exception.
You, our furry family, have thanked us by your continued support in light of all the ups and downs, but that thanks and respect has been earned. So, let’s not make our family ill – a Picnic or a family with one less at the table, is no Picnic at all.
As we will come to see how community and world events unfold, the facts will be evaluated, followed by a final decision Expect this announcement at any time from this point forward and certainly no later than May 1st.
We will continue to update you all on our posture and thoughts as the situation unfolds. Regardless of outcome, we with to thank you again for your continued support and understanding.
… and stay safe. We care.
The Organizers and Crew of the Furry Picnic