Dear ACA Members,
I hope this letter finds everyone doing as well as can be expected in this unprecedented time. The world is a different place than we experienced last year at this time, and I know many of you have questions about the future, especially the National scheduled in October.
The ACA Board is sensitive to the impact the coronavirus has had on everyone, especially those who are sick or know someone who is ill, those who are out of work, or working limited hours. Across the nation, everyone is experiencing some form of stay-at-home order and social distancing and will continue to be in the near foreseeable future.
As a Board, we have been monitoring the news and considering how the orders, business closures, unemployment, and supply shortages have affected the club members and future implications for a large club gathering five months from now. By all accounts, everyone agrees that returning to normal will not be quick and will take more time than it has taken for the country to shut down. However, it is impossible to speculate with accuracy when that return-to-normalcy will occur.
At this time, no decision has been made regarding the 2020 National. There are many factors that must be respected and weighed. Everyone’s health and safety are major concerns. We do not know what county, state or national orders regarding social distancing or large gatherings may be in place at that time. Some medical experts have suggested that all large gatherings should be avoided until there is an available vaccine. Even Disney theme parks are closed indefinitely and may remain shuttered until January 2021.
According to our AKC delegate’s March report, more than 6,500 events have been canceled including more than 800 All Breed shows. AKC has laid off more than 30% of its staff. Many National Specialties are being canceled, clubs like the Golden Retriever club, Bernese Mountain Dog club, the Boston Terrier club, Rottweiler, and French Bull Dog among many others.
If there are no orders in place, another major concern lingers, everyone’s financial position. For those who have been furloughed, it may be months or longer before they feel financially secure enough to attend a National with its related expenses such as travel, lodging, and food, not to mention related show expenses (entries, grooming, handling, etc.).
Traveling may also become an obstacle. If businesses reopen and large gatherings are permitted, we cannot predict if airlines will offer the quantity of flights they did three months ago. Currently, airlines have canceled or reduced between 60 and 90% of all flights. To help cover their losses, airlines may increase ticket prices, making air travel prohibitive for most of us. Last, but not least is our hotel contract and what flexibility the hotel is willing or able to extend to us. Much will depend on social distancing and stay-at-home orders. A decision regarding the 2020 National will likely be made in the coming month or two.
With that said, there are some things the ACA Board can do to help its members if the National is held. The Board has suspended all fund-raising activities, which includes selling banners, selling advertising in (and publishing) the Akita Review, and soliciting trophy sponsors. We felt that in light of the fragile economic position all of us are experiencing and will continue to face in these uncertain times, it is the right action to take. As a Board, we want to do what we can to support you, our members, who have steadfastly supported the club.
We will continue to monitor the events as they unfold and will keep you apprised of any new developments as soon as we can. Rest assured, our first priority will always be your health and safety.
The 2020 ACA National Specialty is scheduled at the Wyndham Indianapolis West in Indianapolis, IN October 11-17, 2020!
Dogs/Bitches: Coleman Nemerov
BOB: James Frederiksen