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Preparing Events for a Global Health Threat

With all eyes on the coronavirus right now, our Wednesday Workshop dives into the archives to find contracting lessons for planners that came from the last international epidemic, SARS.

In 2003, the global meetings industry faced a situation that’s eerily similar to what’s happening at this very moment: An emerging worldwide epidemic that might cripple meetings and conventions for quite some time.

Back then, the cause was sudden acute respiratory syndrome—SARS for short—and it jolted the meetings industry in several ways. First, here’s an article detailing the decision by the American Association for Cancer Research to cancel its 16,000-person annual meeting and the legal fallout it would have to face.

Once the SARS outbreak subsided and the meetings world came back to order, we outlined how organizations could protect themselves legally and financially through properly crafted contracts—and this advice can serve meeting hosts just as well in the present, when coronavirus is a huge threat to events.

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