Health protocols for Travel Exchange ’21
NTA is committed to providing a safe and productive environment for all Travel Exchange attendees, and we are confident that each individual will take personal steps to help safeguard the NTA community. Our decisions about health protocols and protective measures are guided by the requirements and recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and other federal, state, and local authorities.
Two things to note: We are not enacting these protocols out of an abundance of caution. We are enacting them out of an abundance of care, concern, and common sense. Also, please know that as conditions and public-health practices change, so, too, will our protocols. And they could go in either direction—relaxed or strengthened—as determined by federal and local officials.
Vaccination or test Proof of WHO-approved vaccination will be required for all Travel Exchange participants; vaccines are strongly recommended by the CDC. In lieu of full vaccination, a delegate can show proof of a negative COVID test administered by a medical professional within 72 hours of check-in at the convention center (or of the first Travel Exchange activity the delegate attends). NTA will detail the means of verifying vaccination or testing on or before Nov. 1, along with providing a list of rapid testing locations close to Travel Exchange hotels.
Masks Properly worn masks will be required for all indoor gatherings at Travel Exchange, regardless of vaccination status, except while eating or drinking. This follows an order of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, which requires masks in all buildings under the county’s jurisdiction (including the convention center); and the CDC, which recommends wearing a mask indoors in public in an area of substantial or high transmission. Masks will also be required while on Travel Exchange motorcoaches, as required by the CDC.
Optional on-site testing While in Cleveland, delegates are asked to monitor their health condition using the CDC’s coronavirus self-checker, and if they experience any COVID symptoms—fever, shortness of breath, coughing, etc.—they should not attend any Travel Exchange activities. Inspire Diagnostics will be present at Travel Exchange, offering rapid tests that delegates can request and self-administer in their hotel room under the online supervision of an Inspire Diagnostics professional. Also, a nurse will be on-site Sunday through Wednesday, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., in case delegates wish to get tested, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.
Other measures Cleveland’s Huntington Convention Center is taking a number of steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus. They include enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, heightened air quality management, updated food service protocols, and carefully configured public-circulation strategies. We ask that attendees adhere closely to directives regarding hygiene and distancing.
NTA conducted a successful in-person event in May—Contact ’21 in Memphis—and attendees were overwhelmingly satisfied with the conference’s content, community, and safe environment. At our request, all attendees provided documentation that they were either vaccinated or COVID-free (providing a vaccination card or results of a recent test), and everyone wore masks indoors. This fall, other industry conferences are making similar or stricter requirements, including IPW and IMEX.
Members who are unable to attend Travel Exchange in person can take advantage of a virtual option, which includes business appointments, livestreamed meal events, access to seminars, and, depending on membership category, Best Pitch and Sales Missions, set for Nov. 4. That option on the registration form is “Virtual Attendee.”
NTA’s top priorities are twofold: We aim to provide the packaged-travel community productive in-person conference while taking steps necessary to best ensure the health and safety of all attending.