COVID-19 has reshaped the landscape for events, raising legal issues that organizations may not have grappled with before. These recent articles feature practical advice from legal experts and insurance pros.
Between the cancellations, the insurance claims, the precautions, the reopenings, and the social distancing protocols, association meetings have been thoroughly disrupted over the past year. By most accounts, they’ll likely remain substantially different for the foreseeable future.
And you might want to talk to a lawyer about it. Fortunately, we’ve done a little of that already, so we can point you in the right direction.
Here are some highlights on legal aspects of events from the Associations Now archives:
The New Business Essentials for Meetings. Meeting fundamentals have shifted during the pandemic. “In order to mitigate risk, experts say organizations need to understand and navigate the changes that COVID-19 has brought to event insurance, contracts, and safety guidelines,” Rasheeda Childress writes.
How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Event Cancellation Insurance. Lou Novick, national director for associations and nonprofit practice at Gallagher, offers the insurance perspective on pandemic cancellations. “The scale of lost revenue from pandemic cancellations in all sectors is well into the tens of billion dollars worldwide,” he writes. Three areas of significant change in the insurance market are pending claims, premiums, and communicable disease coverage.
A Return to Meetings: COVID Protocol Document. Julie Ann Schmidt, CMM, CMP, a certified COVID compliance officer, explains the protocols that associations may need to consider to ensure a safe in-person event. “Your protocol document is your standalone document that states everything your association is doing to keep everyone safe,” Schmidt tells Associations Now’s Samantha Whitehorne. “It encompasses several elements—from cleaning, to screening and testing, to transportation, and everything in between.”
Can Your Association Adopt a COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement? Here’s a tough one for association leaders to parse, because the law isn’t entirely clear. Peter D. Guattery of Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP outlines the issues involved in decision-making around vaccine requirements for meetings and workplaces. “Mandating vaccinations for annual conferences or regional meetings presents a different scenario [from the workplace], despite similarity in the language used in the legal analysis,” he writes. Ultimately, “a vaccination mandate requires planning and coordination to the same extent as other safety measures.“
Legal Issues for Meetings: Lessons Learned and Planning Ahead. Guattery’s partners Eileen Morgan Johnson, CAE, and Jeff Altman break down legal issues related to post-pandemic in-person events. “It is difficult to predict what restrictions different states and localities may apply to large gatherings and whether attendees will be willing and able to return to in-person meetings anytime soon,” they write. “Experience tells us that associations should plan for pandemic restrictions and precautions to continue in some form indefinitely.”