The 2020 Saint Bernard National Specialty Show!
Held at: The Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel
2020 National Update Susan Carter, RN, DNP/SBCA Recording Secretary
The Board of Directors discussed the financial implications of the 2020 National as well as the unanimous recommendation by the health sub-committee. The Board voted to cancel the 2020 National being held the last week of October in the east part of Pennsylvania. The board is working with the AKC Board of Directors for approval to move the 2020 National to early 2021. The 2021 National in Utah will be held as planned in September.
The SBCA Board of Directors appointed a sub-committee to discuss the effects of the pandemic on the 2020 National. The committee consisted of myself as chair, Cindy Valko RN, Gina Fitzpatrick RN, Doylene Roberts and Jose Hernandez-Gil, DMD. The coronavirus is a new virus that spreads mainly through person-to-person contact and the infections range from mild to deadly. As a new virus, there are many unknowns especially with the increasing number of cases over the past month. We are experiencing a rebound of the virus and are seeing spikes in cases in the West, Southeast, and Midwest which are being traced back to where people are clustering.
Currently in Pennsylvania, the western part of the state is starting to see a spike in cases related to reopening. The Governor along with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health (PA DPH) put in measures to help decrease the raise in the number of cases. This includes reclosing of bars in certain counties, making masks mandatory even when inside a restaurant, social distancing and frequent hand washing. The sub-committee unanimously recommended to cancel the 2020 National in October.
The sub-committee raised the following concerns:
- We are unable to predict what the next few months will be like.
- How do we maintain social distancing when people will be socializing and congregating together? We come to the national to socialize with ones we haven’t seen since the prior national, to discuss breeding programs and meet over dinner or drinks to talk.
- How do we protect all exhibitors and members who are attending?
- Masks are now mandatory; will everyone comply with wearing of masks inside and outside and while eating?
- How will PA be affected with the rebounding cases? Will more restrictions be put into place?
- Will more states implement what is being done in the northeast with a mandatory 14-day quarantine if you visit certain states (currently at 19)? PA DPH has implemented a 14-day quarantine if anyone from PA goes to one of the 19 listed states.
- If PA DPH implements a mandatory quarantine for those people traveling to PA (currently in discussion at the PA DPH), how will this affect those traveling to the national from one of the 19 states listed as high-risk states? Will exhibitors need to come to PA 14 days in advance of the national to self-quarantine?
- Expense’s for the hotel with the mandatory cleaning of public restrooms and common areas – will it cost more money for the hotel and will the SBCA need to cover these extra expenses?
- Will the national be a pleasant experience for those who attend with all the restrictions that need to be put into place?
- Will every person attending comply with the requirements of PA DPH, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), AKC and SBCA regulations and recommendations?
- How will dogs react with judges and exhibitors wearing masks?
- Will exhibitors socially distance (maintaining the 6-foot required distance) in the show ring?
- Restaurants are currently at 50% capacity; how will the hotel implement this?
PA DPH was consulted on what additional recommendations/restrictions will need to be put into place for the National. A professional handler in PA, Philip Boyce, has been working with the PA DPH to get blanket approval for conformation shows and shared what must be put into place to meet the CDC, DPH and AKC requirements. These recommendations/restrictions are changing frequently to help stop the increase in cases.
Another concern for the board is financial. If we have a low entry there is a high potential of the national losing money to host the event as the expenses do not change.
To hold a safe national, everyone would have to comply with the DPH, CDC and AKC recommendations, which are:
- Clubs, officials and participants are required to follow state, local and facility guidelines that apply to the area and site where the event is held.
- No one can congregate in groups larger than 10 people (inside or outside).
- Face coverings/Masks have to be worn at all times (no exceptions) – inside and outside.
- Masks have to be worn correctly and be in place as soon as you leave your room or RV.
- A 6-foot parameter has to be placed around the show ring to help maintain the 6 feet of social distancing between the exhibitors in the ring and the spectators.
- The event is closed to the public.
- The judge must wear a mask and wash their hands after touching every dog.
- 6 feet must be between every exhibitor in the show ring.
- A waiver should be put in place and signed by all exhibitors and spectators stating you will comply with the PA DPH, CDC and AKC recommendations and requirements. That you are have had no contact with anyone known to have COVID 19 or exposed to a carrier within the past 14 days.
- If forced air dryers are used, the dryer can only be used outside and there must be at least 6 feet or more space between set ups.
- Wash your hands frequently with hand sanitizer or soap and water.
AKC COVID-19 Best Practices https://www.akc.org/press-center/covid-19-updates-from-the-american-kennel-club/
PA DPH – Help Stop the Spread https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Stop-the-Spread.aspx