First, let me say "thank you" for your interest in attending the upcoming Shine On East Tennessee Backroads 2020 VMC National Rally. Secondly, we can appreciate your concerns pertaining to the safety of the attendees based on what you have seen concerning the Covid-19 numbers in the state of Tennessee. That being said, let me assure you that the safety, health and well-being of all of our attendees, organizers, hotel staff and all associated vendors, sponsors and hosts are definitely a top priority for us concerning Covid-19.
We have kept a constant eye on the Covid-19 numbers provided by various national, state and local organizations, especially those numbers pertaining to Johnson City & Washington County, Tennessee where our event will be held and most of our events will take place. We are also keeping tabs on the numbers in the surrounding counties and outer lying areas where many of our riders will be enjoying the beautiful scenery of East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Southwest Virginia and other nearby states. Though the numbers in Tennessee seem to be spiking in some of our larger municipalities, this is not necessarily the case in every county or city statewide. Washington County, for example, has only 52 ACTIVE cases of Covid-19 as of this writing, July 11, 2020 and has only had a TOTAL of 235 cases since they started tracking the numbers in February with ZERO deaths. Most of the surrounding counties in East Tennessee boast even fewer numbers of Covid-19 illness. We are doing everything we can to ensure everyone's enjoyment of this event while also providing a fun, entertaining time for all who attend. Our host hotel, the Holiday Inn on Springbrook Drive, is also diligently working with us to maintain a safe environment for their guests and our attendees. They recently had a meeting pertaining to the rally and issued this statement:
"IHG and Holiday Inn Johnson City TN, have always prided ourselves on a Culture of Clean and wants to reinforce that commitment to you and your travelers during this heightened period of vigilance.
On a day to day basis, IHG branded hotels are required to adhere to comprehensive health and safety procedures. These include IHG procedures, all applicable local laws, and now COVID-19 specific requirements that governments put in place.
IHG has provided us with additional COVID-19 cleanliness guidance, training, and information to accompany the health and safety procedures we have always followed. this area.
As you would expect, IHG continues to monitor the evolving situation very closely, keeping in line with the latest global health recommendations and adhering to all applicable local laws.
Our Team and I are committed and are embracing social distancing and wear PPP masks and gloves.
Temperature screening daily for all team members –
Promoting safe hygiene and etiquette
Key sanitation program
Installed acrylic shields at team member workstations
Cleaning with hospital grade disinfectant
Increased on going Covid-19 training
Hand sanitizer is located throughout the commercial areas of the hotel
Stay well, and we look forward to welcoming you and your travelers in the future."
The Holiday Inn has also ensured us that even though the latest statement from the governor of Tennessee discourages meeting in groups of 50 or more, they are confident that they can host our event and still maintain a safe environment using current social-distancing guidelines. They are currently working with us to develop a plan to utilize a larger meeting room and to use the hallways and common areas around that room to accommodate as many of our guests as possible and still adhere to the suggested safe practices. Masks will be available and hand sanitizer will also be provided throughout the commercial areas of the hotel as well as personal hand sanitizer provided to each attendee in their gift bag.
In short, we encourage you to use your best judgement. However, at this time, we are moving forward with this event and hope you will choose to attend and enjoy our beautiful scenery, rich history and hospitality. In the event that the state of Tennessee suggests or mandates stricter guidelines, the hotel may have to alter the structure of events. We will do our best to keep everyone informed about any changes to the status and schedule of events as we continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation. Should you still decide to attend, we urge everyone to wear a mask, maintain the safe-distance guidelines, wash your hands, use the provided hand sanitizer and adhere to other recommended safety measures. We look forward to seeing you in August!
Communications Coordinator for 2020 VMC National Rally
Dragon Riders Chapter