ABA Annual Meeting will be held online, Board of Governors decides
Image from the ABA and Shutterstock.com.
In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the ABA Board of Governors decided Thursday that this year's annual meeting will be entirely virtual.
The 2020 ABA Annual Meeting is scheduled for July 29 to Aug. 4. In addition to nearly 500 meetings and events, it includes the convening of the board to discuss the association’s business matters and the House of Delegates to consider a number of policy proposals.
“While we will not meet in person this summer in Chicago, I am pleased that we will nonetheless gather together to continue our important work,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said. “The ABA will present our Annual Meeting this year with a fresh, new approach to our always informative and inspiring event that so many of us and our families look forward to.”
The virtual meeting will be free to ABA members.
“The health and safety of attendees and staff remains the primary concern of the ABA,” ABA Executive Director Jack Rives said. “The decision to go virtual will allow us to give our members the best possible meeting experience while guaranteeing everyone’s well-being. We also expect that many of the innovations incorporated into this year’s meeting will be added to future in-person meetings.”
The ABA already has canceled the in-person portion of dozens of events, including ABA Day in April and the board’s regular meeting in June.
Rives told staff in an email Thursday that a working group of both staff and members studied options for the annual meeting and recommended to the board that the association conduct an all-online event. The working group considered several factors, including the safety of staff, members and affiliate groups, along with current economic conditions.
Rives said restrictions on group gatherings, air travel limitations and social distancing practices in place at hotels also contributed to the decision.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began encouraging Americans to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people and to limit discretionary travel in March. According to Forbes, more than 83 million people worldwide have been affected as hundreds of conferences, festivals and other events have been canceled or restructured to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The state of Illinois, which recently extended its stay-at-home order through the end of May, announced Wednesday that more than 50,000 citizens have tested positive for COVID-19. The majority of the cases are in the Chicago area.
More information on the virtual 2020 ABA Annual Meeting soon will be available at ambar.org/annual.