Dear NAFTZ Members, Supporters, and Friends:
The global coronavirus pandemic has rapidly upended almost everything in our lives – both at home and work. In this uncertain and turbulent time, NAFTZ’s primary concern is to do whatever is necessary to protect the health and safety of our staff, our members, our families, and our communities. This includes making the difficult decisions necessary to comply with the guidance and mandates from our national, state, and local governments and health authorities and factoring in the feedback from members/attendees. At the same time, we remain committed to ensuring that the association can continue as best we can under the circumstances to carry on our mission and function effectively for our members.
Among these hard decisions is our conclusion to cancel the NAFTZ Spring Seminar in Minneapolis on May 17-19. Working with the NAFTZ Executive Committee, Board, COVID-19 Response Team, and Programs Committee, we have been preparing for this possibility since February. We have been identifying the actions necessary to unwind the event, considering the financial and legal consequences, and examining alternative options for the conference.
Here is What the NAFTZ Plans to Do
NAFTZ recognizes the unprecedented challenges the current crisis poses to the association, our members, and the entire industry. The NAFTZ will continue to work to provide the service and value our members have come to expect and to advance our core mission on education and advocacy. At the same time, we will make every effort to accord our members maximum flexibility as we manage our way through this difficult situation. With these considerations in mind, NAFTZ will:
• Work to mitigate the impact of the cancellation of the Spring Seminar on attendees and the association by:
-Developing a virtual conference series in May or June that includes most of the program content from the Spring Seminar. Per the NAFTZ Member/Supporter survey this is the preferred next best option in featuring event highlights online.
-Giving registrants the option of a refund of registration fees (received within 14-business days of requesting with accounting) or a credit to register for the Annual Conference in October; (Note all registrants must cancel their own spring seminar hotel and flight reservations) and
-Giving sponsors the option of a refund; applying the funds to a Virtual Conference session sponsorship; or applying the funds to an Annual Conference sponsorship; or future event on first come first served basis.
• Continue to engage public officials through every available channel of communication to advance our public-policy priorities and advocate on behalf of a strong and viable FTZ program and the stakeholders who depend on it;
• Expand our educational program to include information on how best to manage the impacts of the pandemic on the FTZ program, companies, and workers and on recovery strategies once the crisis abates; and
• Focus resources and planning an even more robust and successful Annual Conference the end of October in Denver.
We also encourage you to share your thoughts and recommendations on how best we can assist you and the rest of the membership.
Wishing you health and peace.