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Hi there!  Well - hubby and I signed on early for this one and the plan was to ride the BRP along with in and around Maggie Valley before heading over to Johnson City.  Up to now, it appears that the organizers are full steam ahead with planning and preparation for our 2020 National Rally.  However - this morning I hear that the Covid cases in Tennessee are rising dramatically and that the Governor has extended a State of Emergency Order through to August 29, part of which discourages gatherings of more than 50 people.  I know that you folks have put in a lot of hard work and time in this event, and if I were in your shoes I certainly would not want to postpone or cancel.  But safety should be paramount don't you think?   What are the thoughts/leanings on this?

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I am in the camp that would probably err on the side of caution and reschedule this for a later date. I know there has been a ton of work but to proceed in spite of a state recommendation seems unwise to me. Just my .02 and for the record we are not registered to go and our decision to not attend was directly related to what’s going on with this virus..

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My understanding is that the organizers of this rally have opted to move forward.  I do hope and pray that those who attend are kept and remain safe and healthy and I wish for the organizers a successful rally.  

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In Germany we have our meetings. We stick to the distance rule. We stay outdoors as much as possible. In the hotel, we must also observe the rules. You have to see it from the point of view that the infections are on a very low level. On July 10th we had 395 newly infected people. Our meetings are therefore without high risk and are all a little smaller. 10 to 35 people 
When you meet, everyone should be intelligent enough to follow the corona rules
The international meetings were all cancelled. The group would have been too big and many should not have come because of the travel restrictions. 

I had planned my vacation in Florida for September, we buried the plan on Friday. The risk is too big for us and we do not want to go into quarantine for 2 weeks after our return. 

Think about how to protect yourself and stay healthy.
If you protect yourself, you protect many others from infection.

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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!

 

Sincerely,

 

Craig Stapleton

Communications Coordinator for 2020 VMC National Rally

 

Dragon Riders Chapter 

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Wishing you all the best with the rest of the planning Craig - although we won't end up being able to cross the border after all I'm hoping you all will have lots of pics to share with us. Hope to meet you and Christy at the next one. We were also watching the numbers from here and Washington County appears to be fairly low risk and you'll be "gone riding" most of the time anyway 🙂. Looks like you're going above and beyond with the safety precautions - I'm sure it will be greatly appreciated by all attending. Well done to all involved with the planning given all the challenges and I hope you all have a really great time!

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That sounds good, you have done everything that is your responsibility.
 Now it depends on the participants.
It's a little weird when you can't hug friends.
The meetings are a bit different and feel different, but they are still nice.
I wish you a lot of fun and take care of yourself.

 

20200626_075409.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for such an informative and forthcoming report Craig!  It certainly is helpful to know "from the source" what the planning and precautions that are being taken .   I feel very badly for all the hard work you all have done that probably will be somewhat negatively affected by this damn virus.  As of now, we are in a hold pattern and will wait until the deadline of August 5 to make our final decision as probably are some others who were looking forward to this meet.  Whatever we decide personally I certainly wish you all the best with safety and good health for all.

Edited by xcbubbamom
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This from Ballad health Johnson City

Friday, July 10, 2020
 
 

Health officials issue concern, urge precautions as regional COVID-19 cases rapidly increase

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.Thank you all so much for the positive responses and the well-wishers for our event. Also, thank you, XC Bubba, for the quote from Ballad Health. We are keeping a  close watch on the numbers and will make adjustments/change plans accordingly if things continue to develop in a drastic, negative fashion. The closest "hot spot" currently is Hamblen County, which is about 1.5 hours from Johnson City. A few of the counties in the region have seen an increase, but the numbers are not overwhelming. At least six of the counties around Washington County, where much of the riding will take place, are in a "low risk" category. We will be making more frequent posts concerning numbers and updates on the Covid-19 to keep those who are attending, or, like yourselves, those who hope to attend. We remain diligent, cautious, hopeful and optimistic, and we hope to see you there.

 

Regards,

 

Craig Stapleton

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It seems that you are taking all sensible precautions, responsibility and care.  Being the other side of the world I make no more comment than that.  After all the hard work you have put in I hope the event can safely go ahead, but conversely if the terrible decision has to be made I hope you will use all your great planning to host the 20th Anniversary event next year, and I hope to be there for that.

Good luck.  Stay safe.

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14 hours ago, Llama said:

It seems that you are taking all sensible precautions, responsibility and care.  Being the other side of the world I make no more comment than that.  After all the hard work you have put in I hope the event can safely go ahead, but conversely if the terrible decision has to be made I hope you will use all your great planning to host the 20th Anniversary event next year, and I hope to be there for that.

Good luck.  Stay safe.

Thank you so much for your positive support and encouragement. If we DO have to postpone until next year, we look forward to seeing you. If everything moves forward this year as we have originally planned, then maybe our paths will cross at another event somewhere in the future. Wishing you the very best, my friend, and again, thank you! 

TILL THE WHEELS FALL OFF!

Craig

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