The 1st domino is falling…
The past month has seen an unprecedented number of event cancelations in the US and worldwide. The Covid-19 virus is nothing like anything we have faced in our modern economic times. The purpose of this petition is to sound the alarm on a massive economic catastrophe that is transpiring in our nation.
Many times, friends and family are surprised to learn the vast encompassing nature of the live events and business meetings industry and all it entails, so it is no surprise that the media has given little coverage to the economic devastation that has already begun to transpire. Many people don’t realize the vast number of roles and jobs in our industry including meeting planners, account executives, sales, warehouse managers, producers, project managers, drivers, operations managers, executives, administrative staff, technicians, stage hands, general labor and service workers along with many more that work behind scenes to bring people and businesses together everyday of the year never ceasing 24/7, until now…
Currently, the live events and business meetings industry is in free fall and headed toward a complete collapse with no end in sight. There are already strong ripples of this impact to the transportation and hospitality industry (hotels, conference centers, restaurants etc.) that rely on our industry which have received media and governmental attention, but no mention of the larger losses that are reaching into the billions and billions of dollars, and continuing to climb by the minute, in the live events and business meetings industry.
While many of our industry wide advocacy organizations representing the events industry have proposed compelling reasons why the events must go on the time has come that our industries livelihood must be completely sacrificed to save lives. Limiting the spread of the virus is the only way to slow and mitigate its massive health and financial impact on our nation.
Many tears of fear, anger and dread have been shed today, and in the previous month, by all our families knowing the monumental cost of our sacrifice to help save our nation from the spread of the virus. Those outside our industry, they are not aware that our industry is comprised significantly of hundreds of thousands of small business and millions of workers and contractors who have already lost most income over the last month and will not have any income for the next 6 months or more to spare the spread of the virus. These are financial losses that will never be recovered.
Our families are already facing a long list of economic catastrophes: losing our homes, retirements, being able to pay bills, extreme debt/bankruptcy, providing food for our children and paying for much needed health insurance. Most of our families either pay for our insurance ourselves as independent contractors or will be laid off due a complete lack of work in our industry.
Small businesses are facing bankruptcy and have already been forced to layoff staff. Proposed government aid of low interest loans can only help a business slow bankruptcy, but not fund a workforce where no revenue can be generated during this period of time.
While the fear is dire for our industry, the economic fallout from our collapse can potentially dwarf that of the 2008 recession and mortgage market collapse. We are an industry almost 2.5 times the size of GM with total yearly revenues of in excess of $337 Billion in 2016 compared to
$125 Billion for GM in 2019.
All of our families, due to lost income, are now no longer consumers, but survivors. If not addressed quickly and forcefully, the financial ramifications will spread to other sectors of our economy as tens of millions of consumers will focus on survival spending habits.
However, beyond the hard numbers of our industries losses is two-fold scenario of economic collapse that will create collateral losses across all businesses and entities in the United States. Over the last 50 years, our economy has relied heavily on professional collaboration, information exchange and communication on a national and international level. Everyday millions of business leaders, professionals and experts from every field meet together to learn and collaborate. By 2020, we surely have dwarfed the 2016 annual figure of 1.9 million meetings with 251 million participants/attendees.
For the next 6-12 months, we are looking at monumental setbacks for all business across the board in professional collaboration and business development. These setbacks are due to not being able to attend business meetings be it large conventions, tradeshows, trainings product launches and the list goes on. If the live events and business meetings industry which is the invisible fabric that ties our US business culture together is not able to recover quickly, then all industries will be delayed in there recovery efforts as well. The potential economic losses are almost incalculable at this point.
This is a minimal synopsis of the crisis at hand, but clearly shows a daily expanding imbalance in the economy in such a large sector that is now about to be the first domino to topple the rest of the chain. We are calling for immediate federal action to protect the Live Events and Business Meetings Industry from total collapse and save the rest of our economy for the collateral damage. We need congress and the executive branch to take immediate action.
We are in dire need of new innovative economic leadership to address the very unique economic crisis our industry faces. We need an aid package that covers our specific wounds and there is no other major economic sector built like ours, so we will need to have a special task force of economic experts to be convened to address our unique issues.
An aid package to support us in order to survive and recover the pandemic and economic catastrophe might include, but in no way is limited to the following suggestions:
- Emergency Medicaid Health insurance – to cover our uninsured business owners, contractors and laid off employees
- An additional $200 Billion in low interest federally backed business liquidity loans – the initial $50 Bill has already been surpassed in current sustained losses just to our industry.
- $100 Billion in Employee Retention Grants – these types of grants are being offered in New York City, currently the low interest loans and differed payroll tax are not able to avoid widespread layoffs. as a service based economy of live events and business meetings cannot sustain taking on the level of debt to support employees without any ability to perform revenue generating activities during this time of a large gathering shutdown.
- The ability to submit canceled contracts as loss of income on our 2020 taxes.Employees and Independent Contractors in the Live Event Industry Need:
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act to include 1099 self-employed individuals
- The ability to apply for unemployment insurance to cover lost income.
- The ability to get disability sick pay for missed work.
*The dollar figures are based conservative view based on 4 to 8 months of disruption, additional months of potential complete industry disruption would warrant increased aid.
We the undersigned plead with our elected officials to hear our warnings and cries for help as we not only see our own plight, but also the plight of the entire economy we will bring down with us.
Isaac Rothwell, Randy Pruitt, Trevor Zulinke, Adam Gogan – Digerati Productions
Omar Colom – AV Educate (Original Signatories)
Newly Formed Live Events Industry Coalition resulting from Petition Organizing Activities
Adam Gogan, National Sales Manager, Digerati Productions
Trevor Zulinke, National Director of Accounts & Production, Digerati Productions
Omar Colom, AV Educate, AFPC
Julie Law, President of 360 Event Productions
Jessica Dalka, Owner, Chicago Planner Magazine
Carole Galle, CEO, Special D Events
Alexandra Rembac, Principal and Creative Director of Sterling Engagements
Stephanie Nix, Owner, On Site Management LLC
Chris Sinclair, President, The Anthem Group
Eileen Valois, Senior Vice President Sports and Fan Entertainment, PRG/VER
Alex Fedrizzi, Touring Systems Engineer
Marci McCarthy, CEO & President, T.E.N.
Sara Champagne, Director – Business Development, My Events the Bomb.com
Shannon Cook, CFO, TourTech
Lyn Stout, Principal, Bond Events
and the following undersigned
Contact for Media and Political Requests firstname.lastname@example.org
“Economic Significance of Meetings to the US Economy” – Events Industry Council