PALTA staff have been closely monitoring the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation in order to make the best-informed judgments possible regarding PALTA activities and operations. We have been deeply concerned about protecting the health of would-be attendees and vulnerable people in the broader population. We also have been quite mindful of the time invested into the conference by presenters, planning committee members, and other partners, as well as the important learning and networking needs of professional and volunteer conservationists addressed by the conference each year.
As others of you have probably experienced, there has been no joy parsing through official pronouncements and trying to reconcile those with the warnings of epidemiologists and other public health experts laboring outside of official circles. But after many many hours of research and deliberation, we concluded that cancelling the conference is the most ethical course of action.
The Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg has cancelled the reservations of anyone who registered with the PALTA group discount code. If you didn’t register as part of the group, please be sure to cancel your reservations.
The cancellation comes with financial repercussions. PALTA made substantial irrevocable financial commitments to the hotel and other vendors guaranteeing certain numbers of hotel rooms occupied, food consumed, people transported, etc. There are a multitude of variables in play, but staff are working to see if any costs might be recovered.
Staff are also exploring the potential of providing some webinars in lieu of at least a few of the conference offerings.
We will provide more details, when we have the information to communicate.