As COVID-19 case counts reach near-daily record highs and local hospitals struggle with a surge of COVID-19 patients, Anchorage must contend with a new economic challenge: a flurry of cancellations of major conferences and events. Cancelled or postponed events include resource development trade group conventions, nonprofit conventions, and the Mayor’s Ball.
Below is a partial list of major cancellations.
- Alaska Chamber – Annual Policy Forum event moved to a virtual event on October 12 and Fall-turned-Winter Forum on December 9th. In a September 14, 2021 article in the Alaska Journal of Commerce, President and CEO Kati Capozzi states, “We were going to require vaccination or negative COVID tests, but with everything going on and our hospitals completely overwhelmed, we didn’t feel like we could have a safe and responsible in person event at this time.”
- Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA) – Postponed Progress and Pathways conference at the Dena’ina Center to January. An August 23 Facebook post reads, “After careful consideration of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks in Alaska and Anchorage, and with the health and safety of all participants in mind, we have decided to POSTPONE the 2021 AOGA Conference until January 12, 2022.”
- Mayor’s Ball – 2021 ball postponed to February 2022. An announcement on Facebook reads “Stay safe and we will see you all soon.”
- Alaska Miner’s Association (AMA) – Cancelled November 1 AMA Annual Convention in Anchorage. An email reads, “today Alaska sits at the worst place in the nation for case counts per capita and our hospitals are strained beyond measure. Medical professionals are pleading for vaccinations and for citizens to avoid exposure in mass gatherings, and our event would certainly meet that definition. There is no indication that these conditions will change by November 1.”
- Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) – Cancelled its annual conference on August 6, 2021. An announcement on Facebook reads, “ASHNHA has made the difficult decision to cancel our annual conference due to the rise in coronavirus patients, worrisome capacity levels, and staffing challenges.”
- Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) – Postponed annual convention to December. The AFN website explains: “The AFN Board of Directors decided to postpone the 2021 Convention to December 13-15, citing health and safety concerns which include the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide and the consequent pressure on Alaska’s healthcare system.”
- Associated General Contractors of Alaska (AGC) – The AGC of Alaska Annual Conference, scheduled for November 10-13, 2021, was moved to the end of January. Conference dates were retained for educational seminars that allow social distancing, with a virtual option.
- Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) – Postponed its October 11, 2021 Annual Convention & Trade Show and replaced it with a January 2022 hybrid in-person or virtual event.
- Trend Fashion Show – October 2 show postponed to February 26, 2022. A September 2, 2021 Facebook announcement reads, “Like all of you, our event committee has been closely monitoring the situation around COVID-19 and the rising cases across the state. We don’t take postponing lightly, but felt that we had to make this decision for the health and safety of our designers, models and attendees.”
- Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) – On September 8, ASMI announced on Facebook that it would no longer hold its “All Hands on Deck” event at Alyeska Hotel and would make it a virtual event event instead.
Some organizations are currently evaluating the COVID-19 situation in Anchorage before determining whether to modify or cancel events.
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- Resource Development Council (RDC) – Evaluating the feasibility of their November 17-18, 2021 annual conference. A statement on the RDC website reads, “While RDC remains hopeful an in-person event is possible, we will continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic with safety at the forefront. That may require: additional safety and protection measures (masks, etc.), limiting the number of in-person attendees or other changes or eliminations within the draft agenda. While we will do all we can to bring our members and supporters together in November, we may be forced to shift to virtual or hybrid event.”
This list will be updated as new information becomes available.