Is your public gathering worth the risk of spreading the Coronavirus?

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There’s no sweet coating on this week’s blog topic. 

It’s been a little of a crazy week as many of my clients have reached out, asking me all sort of questions surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  1. Do we still have our event?

  2. Should I consider an alternative date or just reduce my numbers? 

  3. Should I move my date? 

  4. Where should I start? 

  5. Who do I call first? 

  6. What should I tell the family? 

  7. I have insurance, so I’m covered? 

  8. Should I cancel altogether? 

  9. What are the risks for me? 

  10. My guests are traveling from far with the possibility of being quarantined if they show any signs of this virus?

  11. Some reached out to change their RSVP, now what?

Well, I have your answers after extensive research… Grab a pen and paper and let’s work on this…

Let’s understand the COVID-19 virus first!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in Canada.

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk to the general public from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people; the severity of resulting illness; and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccines or medications that can treat the illness). That this disease has caused severe illness, including illness resulting in death, is concerning, especially since it has also shown sustained person-to-person spread in several places. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, the worldwide spread of the new virus. Reference: CDC 11 March 2020

  • Foreign nationals who have been in China, Italy or Iran (7 other countries) within the past 14 days cannot enter Canada. They will be QUARANTINED.

  • Canadian citizens, residents, and their immediate family members who have been in Italy or Iran within the past 14 days can enter Canada, but they are subject to health monitoring and possible quarantine for up to 14 days. 

  • The Government of Canada recommended that people at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

  • Additionally, the Government of Canada has issued the following additional specific travel guidance related to COVID-19.

Areas in Canada with cases of COVID-19 as of March 10, 2020

Province or territory

Confirmed cases

Ontario – 36

British Columbia – 39

Quebec – 4

Alberta – 14

Total cases: 93

Now to the details regarding your event:

Postponing any event (weddings, engagements, baby showers, stag parties, corporate and social events) can be a logistical nightmare. Invitations are out, RSVP’s are in. Lettering is just beginning.

Let’s consider your date, if you have any flexibility, I would suggest moving your date to an alternative day, ideally later in the year. Once you have decided on a few dates, I suggest calling your big tickets items such as venue, catering, flowers, and decor. If you have an event planner now is the time to talk. Let them take away your stress. If all the above vendors are willing to move the date then calling your friends and family with either an alternative date or a new set date immediately and then following it up with an email. It would also be wise should you wish to continue with your event, that you arrange with the venue of your new potential guest numbers. Most venues charge by the number of confirmed attendees and some require a minimum, I suggest you clarify this as soon as possible. Stock up some hand sanitizers and let us at Find Me Lettering create some unique quirky signs that will ease your mind. Let’s work together to avoid any potential hazards.

Now, you going to say Vanisha, aren’t we blowing this out of proportion and YES we are. The news no doubt is making the situation seem a lot more serious. But just imagine, you have invited your grandmother from the U.K. She is excited just as much as you are to have her share in your special day. She books her flight and submits her travel visa requirements. To only find out her visa has been canceled or she has everything arranged and is ready to board that airplane, to only be stopped at Toronto Pearson Airport and quarantined for the next two weeks or everything goes smoothly and attends your event, upon her return she starts to feel unwell and eventually finds out she has been affected with the Coronavirus. Her immune system is compromised and how fast it has spread through her body, the odds are against her.

I have insurance! I’m safe and covered… NO don’t assume. Go back and check your contract/policy.

Coronavirus is now being excluded from new event insurance policies. This industry change started once the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency in January. Which is now a global pandemic.

According to PAL Insurance, Special event insurance coverage protects you from a variety of unforeseen circumstances but not from coronavirus. 

Now is time to read that specific contract clause.

A standard event cancellation insurance policy typically covers cancellation due to events beyond your control. That usually means an act of God or other circumstances that damages a scheduled venue. An “all-cause” or “epidemic coverage” cancellation policy could possibly include losses resulting from coronavirus cancellations. Unsurprisingly, these policies are not commonly available.

Coronavirus would generally fall under communicable disease coverage. This option is often add-on coverage or a rider to an event cancellation policy that may be available for an additional premium. Without an existing rider, you’re responsible for any costs resulting from events canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Standard cancellations clauses will be in full effect.

Like I said in the beginning, this is a logistical nightmare. This virus is affecting nearly every industry, leaving small business owners like myself as vulnerable as everyone else. These concerns are no longer hypothetical. Recent cancellations of major events (Cherry Blossom Festival, Grand Prix, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival) are hurting businesses small and large.

So the question to you is a public gathering (small or large) worth the risk of spreading the coronavirus?

Let me know your thoughts below!!

Love (sanitized hands)


Canada has made the following information available on their website, it’s worth a read to help you make and manage the outcome of your decision.

Click here

Outbreak Update

Symptoms & Treatment

Prevention & Risks

Being Prepared

Travel Advice

useful guide about improving mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rehab 4 Addiction works closely with rehabilitation centres and outpatient clinics throughout the United Kingdom and the admissions team match a patients’ addiction with an appropriately placed rehabilitation centre. Rehab 4 Addiction were kind enough to allow me to share this article with you, in hopes just one person can gain benefit

with love,
Vanisha Singh

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