Arizona Historic Preservation Conference COVID-19 Mitigation Plan (Effective 09-29-21)
In connection with offering in-person conference instruction and networking and in an effort to minimize risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in a hotel environment, the 2021 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference Planning Committee (the “Conference”) has adopted the following mitigation plan (“Plan”), based upon mitigation strategies and recommendations as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. This plan shall be used as a guidance tool to provide “best practice” measures to lessen risk of virus transmission at the conference. The plan should not be construed as protocol that will eliminate transmission of the virus and should not take the place of personal protective measures to minimize the risk of infection.
This Plan may be revised by the Conference as necessary to reflect the most current public health standards and community COVID-19 spread information.
The mitigation measures contained within this Plan recognize that it is impossible to completely eliminate risks that COVID-19 – or any other communicable disease – will be transmitted within the conference environment. As such, this Plan does not guarantee against potential transmission of COVID-19 in the conference hotel and environs. Rather, it reflects the Conference’s continued commitment to, and reasonable efforts aimed at, maintaining a safe and healthy environment, despite risks acknowledged by the CDC and other health experts.
The Conference will determine which of the strategies set forth below are appropriate and will be implemented when the conference is held in a traditional model (attendees on-site physically), a hybrid model (some attendees on-site physically and others attending from home or work), and a virtual model, as may be required or allowed by law or regulatory order. Because community spread levels will change and intermittent emergency business closures are possible, the appropriate strategies will also change from time-to-time.
The Conference also recognizes that gubernatorial Executive Orders establish prohibitions on mandatory face masking and vaccination requirements. The Conference’s plan will comply with all statutory requirements and Executive Orders.
Designated COVID-19 Point of Contact
The Conference’s designated point of contact for COVID-19 related concerns, including reporting positive test results or COVID-19 symptoms, is: Connie Gutierrez, Director of Meetings, Meetings & Concierges Source, LLC, email, 480-990-1887, ext. 10.
Proactive Mitigation Strategies
As applicable, and except as otherwise directed by or after consultation with local health officials, the Conference will implement the following proactive mitigation strategies in attempting to minimize the spread of COVID-19:
Staying Home when Appropriate. The Conference will encourage and require conference organizers and attendees to stay home when they: (a) feel sick, (b) have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing COVID-19 symptoms, or (c) have recently had “close contact” with a person with COVID-19, including any household member. Conference organizers and attendees who become sick at the Conference or are identified as having had close contact with a person with COVID-19 will be promptly isolated from other attendees and sent home as soon as possible. The Conference will encourage attendees to notify Conference’s designated COVID-19 Point of Contact if the attendee or a household member has COVID-19 symptoms. Organizers must notify the Conference’s designated COVID-19 Point of Contact if they or a household member have COVID-19 symptoms. The Conference will also instruct organizers and hotel staff to watch for signs of possible attendee illness during the conference. The CDC has modified the definition of “close contact” to exclude individuals who are within 3 to 6 feet of an infected person, if the individuals were consistently and correctly wearing well-fitting face masks. The exception is discussed here. Isolation and quarantine requirements are discussed in more detail below.
Hand Hygiene. The Conference will encourage and reinforce hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or as appropriate, use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol after restroom use, before and after breaks, and at other appropriate times during the day. The Conference will support healthy hygiene behaviors by providing adequate supplies, including hand sanitizer.
Respiratory Etiquette. The Conference will encourage organizers and attendees to cover coughs and sneezes and follow hand-hygiene protocols immediately thereafter.
Face Coverings. The Conference will require the use of face coverings for all sessions in the various conference hall meeting rooms. Face coverings will be provided at the registration table and available in session rooms. Organizers and attendees not wearing face coverings in these specific areas may be asked to cover their faces or otherwise restrict their attendance to exterior conference venues.
Cleaning and Disinfection. The hotel will clean frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) at least daily. The hotel will follow cleaning and disinfection best practices and procedures, to the extent possible.
Ventilation. The hotel will ensure that building ventilation systems operate properly, to ensure circulation of outdoor air as much as possible. Activities, including lunches and breaks, may take place outdoors, if possible.
Social Distancing. The Conference will encourage organizers and attendees to maintain social distancing (at least three to six feet apart), when feasible, and will endeavor to employ other separation measures when maintaining six feet of distance is not feasible. Such efforts may include modified room layouts (e.g., spacing and positioning of seats and tables), physical barriers/ guides (e.g., placing floor markings for social distancing), and closing or staggering use of communal spaces (e.g., limiting use of, or as appropriate, closing access to hotel amenities).
Food Service. The hotel will minimize transmission risk by taking steps such as: when possible, serving pre-packaged snacks at breaks and ensuring catering staff wear masks during food and beverage service. If the traditional spaces in which meals and breaks take place cannot be modified to account for social distancing for all attendees, some or all attendees may be required to dine in other locations or at staggered times.
Gatherings and Meetings. The Conference will endeavor to pursue virtual group events, gatherings, or meetings, as feasible. Where in-person gatherings or meetings are held, the Conference will limit group size and will promote social distancing of at least 6 feet between people, as reasonably feasible. Some gatherings and meetings may be held outdoors, if possible.
Tours. The Conference will pursue virtual activities and events in lieu of tours, as necessary and when circumstances require. The Conference will consider limiting or cancelling participation in tours where social distancing is not feasible. For off-site tours of privately managed facilities, the Conference must follow the health and safety protocols of the third party organization managing the tour; this may include mandatory use of face masks.
Reactive Mitigation Strategies
When an organizer or attendee tests positive for COVID-19, the Conference will communicate with and follow the guidance of local health officials in making decisions regarding appropriate reactive mitigation measures, including the extent to which the conference should be temporarily restricted or shut down.
Conference Notification of Positive Test. The Conference will encourage organizers and attendees to notify the Conference’s designated COVID-19 Point of Contact regarding any positive test result for COVID-19 with respect to any organizer, attendee, or household member.
Coordination with Local Health Officials. Upon learning of a positive COVID-19 test result in someone who has been in the conference, the Conference will promptly seek guidance from local health officials to determine an appropriate course of action in light of the circumstances. Certain individuals may be required to isolate (those who have contracted COVID-19) or quarantine (those who have been in close contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19), as directed in consultation with local health officials or in compliance with their guidance. If an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs at the conference, the Conference will notify the local health department using any required or suggested notification method. An “outbreak” is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among organizers or attendees with onsets within a 14-day period, who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.
Communication with Organizers and Attendees. Consistent with privacy requirements and in consultation with local health officials, the Conference will provide notification to organizers and attendees regarding confirmed COVID- 19 cases at the conference. Names of individuals reporting a positive COVID- 19 test result will not be shared.
Compliance with Applicable Guidance
If any part of this Plan conflicts with applicable local, county, state law, regulation, or public health guidance, the Conference will comply with the applicable law, regulation, or public health guidance.