Our company takes your health and safety seriously and we are prioritizing policies to keep all our conference attendees safe from COVID-19. Here is what you need to know:
Our Success in 2021
At Zephyr Conferences and our sister tour companies we hosted 511 attendees this year. The reality is COVID is going to affect our tours and conferences; we have to expect that. However, our goal is to minimize infections on our tours and, especially, minimize community spread at our events. We were successful in this effort with ZERO instances of community transmission in 2021.
We did experience three cases of COVID:
- One person tested positive before flying to a tour and thus canceled, which shows the effectiveness of pre-event testing.
- A second person tested positive after returning from our Wine Media Conference but infected no one else while at the conference. This person came from a COVID hot zone and likely was infected prior to the event. Every person at the WMC was vaccinated.
- A third person tested positive at the end of a tour before returning home, likely catching it when on her own before the tour started. This person was vaccinated and symptom free. All other tour participants were vaccinated and did not contract COVID.
So what does this tell us? We can’t avoid COVID. But our policies are working to keep our participants safe.
Safe Conference Bubble
Attending a conference is similar to substantially broadening your “bubble” of contacts. Thus, if we can keep each attendee safe we can keep everyone safe. We will do this by requiring all participants to have a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination. We will then ask attendees to limit their outside interactions while at the event.
COVID Testing and Vaccinations
We will require everyone attending a conference to have either a negative PCR COVID test within 72 hours of the conference start or proof of full vaccination. We will provide a form to upload proof of your vaccination or test. We strongly recommend vaccination. In 2021, 100% of our conference attendees were fully vaccinated.
Most of our conference participants fly to their destination and we are not in control of that aspect of travel. However, airlines are taking major steps to keep passengers safe, including requiring face masks, using electrostatic cleaning, and passenger screenings. Studies have shown the risk of infection on flights to be low and our success in 2021 indicated this as well. For information on how to fly safely, see our founder Allan Wright’s blog post on flying safely during COVID.
We all know that being outside is much safer than being inside thanks to greater air circulation and thus less exposure to a potentially infected individual. We secured an outdoor meeting space for the Beer Now Conference in 2021 and the International Food Blogger Conference in 2022. For other conferences, we will attempt to be outside as much as possible.
Because it is possible to catch COVID while vaccinated, we will strongly encourage masks while indoors , including on transportation provided by the conference.
Our hotels and outdoor venues are implementing extra procedures including employee education, increased sterilization, removing touchable items such as pens, reducing elevator capacity, changing food service, and more.
If we cancel a conference, you can elect to receive your money back or transfer your registration to the new date. If you cancel your registration, there are no refunds but you can transfer your registration with at least 30 days notice with these options:
- Transfer to another Zephyr conference in the same year
- Transfer your registration to someone else
Our safety precautions and your actions are working. We had zero cases of community spread in 2021, despite one individual being infected prior to arriving to the Wine Media Conference. While the past is not an indicator of the future, we will continue to prioritize your safety.