The pandemic data has returned in the form of hospital dashboards of COVID-19 cases and regular reports by the Knox County Health Department. On my end, I have kept a daily watch on the EventCheck Knox calendar as an indicator of how things are going in a viral pandemic.
For a period in July and early August, it seemed as if events would return to in-person gatherings. A week ago, I described it as a “holding pattern” in terms of decisions with a few August events postponed for safety reasons but the majority still a go.
But this week, multiple September events pivoted and either went virtual or canceled or postponed. That was my biggest indicator to get ready to shift events again on the calendar.
As I wrote here in 2020 in a blog post titled COVID-19 is worst party crasher ever, “keeping the color-coded EventCheck Knox calendar updated has felt like a game of Twister as events moved hither and yon.”
Among the changes already made this September is the Knoxville-Knox County CAC Office on Aging having to shift its Mobile Meals 50th Anniversary Celebration to an online format on Sept. 16 instead of in-person at the Tennessee Theatre, which has taken the step to require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter the venue for the safety of patrons, volunteers and staff. Since the Office on Aging serves senior citizens, the nonprofit opted for extra caution, and an in-person, outdoor component at Malcom Martin Park off Western Avenue has been added. New details are HERE.
Also, organizers of the Annual Women’s Fund Luncheon, which has been trying to hold an in-person event for more than a year now after two postponements in 2020, met on the first day of September and, with three weeks to go before the Sept. 23 event, decided it would be virtual. New details are HERE.
Ironically, the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) had planned a Sept. 8 celebration to recognize the efforts of local judges to keep courts operating safely and efficiently during a pandemic and had to cancel for safety reasons.
The organization recognized that celebrating while COVID-19 cases escalate set a bad precedent and posted the following statement on the KBA website: We have had COVID controls in place to help protect members at KBA-sponsored events, but the Delta variant of the virus is raging. Locally, we are seeing a concerning rise in cases along with a shortage of hospital beds. We are still as dedicated as ever to finding opportunities to gather, but our top priority is keeping our members and guests safe and healthy. Please accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for supporting this event and for your understanding during these unprecedented times.
That is a great reminder to all planners to update your website as your event changes as we wrote about HERE.
It also might be a good time to read our blog, available HERE, and review tips on how to take your event virtual. The good news, as it were, is that it is déjà vu all over again. We’ve been here. We’ve done it. We know how to handle a pandemic now for event planning purposes.
In a shoutout to the crystal ball of Centro Hispano, organizers submitted the information last May for the 2021 Latino Awards on Sept. 30 – and already planned the event to be virtual.
As far as October, the calendar is rather full, and planners seem to be in a wait-and-see mode.
If your event changes whether format, cancellation or postponement, please email me at [email protected], so that I can update EventCheck Knox.
If you have a new event in 2021, 2022 – or 2023 if you’re that far ahead – and already know the date, submit it HERE. All of the details, such as time, cost, venue, etc., can be added later.
The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee has picked Sept. 22 as the date for 2022 luncheon and that already has been added to the calendar HERE.
So, where are we with this pandemic? Covenant Health, University of Tennessee Medical Center, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Blount Memorial Hospital, Tennova Healthcare and the Sweetwater Hospital Association issued the following joint statement on Sept. 1.
Many have avoided getting vaccinated because of myths or misinformation about vaccine safety. However, vaccine testing, clinical trials and worldwide results show that the vaccine is safe and effective. It greatly reduces the likelihood of contracting or spreading the virus, being hospitalized, or dying as a result of COVID-19.
If we’re going to get to the other side of this, it will take all of us working together. Stay safe.
Maria Cornelius, a writer/editor for Moxley Carmichael, populates the EventCheck Knox calendar. Her event world is sports, so she is ready for this pandemic to end once and for all. Email her with any EventCheck Knox questions at [email protected].
6 responses to “It’s déjà vu all over again on EventCheck Knox”
At this time, the Knoxville Area Urban League is moving forward with our Equal Opportunity Awards Gala scheduled for Thursday, October 28th as we have entertainment contracts. We intend to follow the same protocols of entertainment venues requiring proof of vaccination and/or negative COVID testing for guests. However, we will adhere to most up to date CDC guidelines closer to our event date.
Thank you, Phyllis. Flexibility and pivoting are two things nonprofits do so well!
I cannot overstate how challenging and stressful the current climate is for us at the Tennessee Theatre, and for other performance venues in our city, state, and beyond. In the spring, when things seemed to finally be trending in the right direction, we confirmed and announced dozens of shows starting in the fall and going all the way through next summer. Ticket sales were brisk through the summer, and we thought the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t another train bearing down on us. How wrong we were. Now, with the Delta variant raging and numbers going in the wrong direction, but with contracts signed and no civil mandate to close, we are obligated to present these performances to avoid breach of contract and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. We recently put in place very strict entry requirements, with two clear goals: to keep our patrons, artists, and staff as safe as possible; and to keep our doors open to continue serving the community. You can surely guess that these requirements have not been well received by everyone. However, as the leader of a private business on private property (we receive less than 1% of our annual operating budget from public funding sources), the board of directors and I know that we have chosen the right path forward. We are doing all we can to address those who disagree with our protocols, and those who now feel unready to attend a a show for which they bought tickets months ago. We are walking a maze as we plan logistics for our events, both backstage and front of house. It is as close to a no-win situation as I can envision. So, I ask all of you to dole out an extra measure of patience, kindness, and understanding to all of us in the arts presenting/producing world, and please do everything you can to get this pandemic under control. Thank you!
Heartfelt and incredible post, Becky, and underscores the pressure that nonprofits and venues are having to deal with all over again. Thank you, and, yes, everyone show some patience and kindness – and everyone do everything we can to finally get to the other side of this.
My heart goes out to Becky & Phyllis & all others dealing with these pressures. Thank you, Maria, for the thankless & so valuable task of keeping this calendar updated. I just updated VIP Knoxville’s event coverage schedule accordingly. You’re right. It is like a giant game of Twister.
Gay, I was cautiously optimistic mid-summer that we both would not be doing the calendar shuffle again for the fall – but here we are. Hang in there!