ArFF / COVID-19 Statement #01 - EN
City of Buenos Aires, March 13, 2020.
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) - STATEMENT #1
We have received many inquiries in recent hours regarding the latest news about the advance of the virus in Argentina and the possibility of cancellation or postponement of ArFF! 2020.
We believe that it is important to give this topic the attention that it deserves and provide peace of mind to those attending the event, our intention is to explain in a transparent way where we stand regarding the virus, the current stage of the event's development, and what the possible scenarios are.
Let's be clear: At this time and given the current state of affairs, the event WILL take place on the scheduled date WITHOUT alterations.
Why a statement now?
We have been following the evolution of the virus for several weeks, our staff is in constant communication with a Doctor who advises on all health issues. This professional has been part of ArFF! 2019 and has assisted us during the convention with the most intense physical activities.
But the news comes with the enactment of the Decree of Necessity and Urgency No. 260/20 of the Presidency of the Nation and Decree No. 140/20 of the Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, these 2 decrees have changed the status and as a result brought more questions than answers to our community.
DNU #260/20: Provides for a health emergency throughout the National Territory for 1 year, restricts the transit of passengers from areas affected by the virus (European Union, China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and the United States) and establishes a mandatory quarantine for all those coming from said affected areas.
This implies that people who intend to attend the event and come from affected areas must take into account 14 days prior to the event, besides their time of stay in Argentina, to carry out the mandatory quarantine.
Decree No. 140/20: Provides that for the term of 30 calendar days from the date of the decree - extendable according to the health situation - events over 200 people, conferences, conventions, museum activities, etc. are suspended in the City of Buenos Aires.
As of today, there are 76 days remaining until ArFF!, so there is an additional margin of 46 days between the end of the ordered suspension - assuming that it is not extended - and the date of the event.
Why was the date not canceled/postponed?
Taking some reflections made by Furnal Equinox in a statement yesterday and sharing much of what was expressed there: ArFF is not in a position to cancel the event.
We depend exclusively on the contractual terms that we have with the Castelar Hotel and it is not a decision that we can take unilaterally. We understand that many other organizations and events have simply been canceled, and it is a valid course of action, but ArFF invests its entire budget in each edition and doesn't have the resources or freedom to make the same decisions as much larger events.
Canceling implies a refund of all tickets and it is something that in the current state of development of the organization of the event is impossible to fulfill: The event is not for profit, we reinvest all the resources it generates in its organization.
What state is the organization of the event in?
With just under 3 months to go, most of the logistics are underway, an investment was made in infrastructure to speed up the registration process, the hotel was fully paid for and almost all the elements that make up the assistant kit at all levels were bought, leaving us only with a few pending purchases.
As for the internal organization, the conbook's design is advancing at a steady pace, the Dealer's Den planning is almost completed with their respective emails coming soon, the programming of the event is taking shape and the calls for DJs and dance competition are about to come out. We have set a date to shoot the opening and closing videos and we have scheduled updates of the website for today.
As you can see, the internal rhythm has not decreased, and the Staff is advancing at a determined step towards the execution of the event by the end of May.
So what can I do?
Each of us has a role and responsibility. On one hand, it is our responsibility to keep you informed, but on the other, you have a huge responsibility, which is to take care of your health and remain informed.
It only remains for us to wait and take all the hygiene and health precautions issued by the Government and the health authorities. If each of us fulfills their obligations, we can all prevent the virus from spreading and affecting people who are truly vulnerable to it.
What if it gets worse?
If the Government of the City of Buenos Aires extends the suspension, we will have to -in agreement with the hotel- postpone the event to a future date.
We understand that this decision is an absolute last resort, but we must be realistic and transparent in admitting that it is a possibility that is on the table.
If the case arises and given what we explained before regarding the organization of the event, we will study the possibility of allowing the “rollover” of tickets. (That is, your 2020 ticket can be exchanged for a General ticket for the 2021 edition. We will give you all the gifts that your 2020 assistant kit includes when you can come in 2021, or we can send them to you via snail mail -with shipping at your expense -).
For the moment, there will be no changes to the refund scheme provided in the ArFF! Regulations, however, we are always open to inquiries or requests through our mail email@example.com
It is not by chance that this is our "Statement #1", fortunately, we have 76 days ahead and several certain opportunities to have a better panorama as we get closer to the event date, in these opportunities we will communicate again.
First of all: PATIENCE, not only with ArFF but also with other furry conventions. This situation not only tests us but other convention organizations around the world. We understand better than anyone that this situation brings unnecessary stress and inconvenience, but the reality is that we are all in the same boat going through the same storm.
There are many links in the chain to make this event a reality and that is why no decision made regarding this issue can be taken lightly. ArFF is the result of a truly perfectly coordinated orchestra of service providers, the hotel and the staff.
We hope that through this statement we can offer you a complete overview of the situation and answer many of the questions that were asked.
We appreciate your attention and as always, we are available to answer any questions by Telegram (@furfiesta or @baubao) or by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings, The ArFF Staff!