The Convention Industry Council is monitoring this situation closely and are receiving updates from the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, CIC members, U.S. Travel Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association, as well as government agencies to provide you with the very latest travel information regarding the Ebola outbreak.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Centers for Disease Control, along with the newly appointed Ebola Czar, are working together to manage and stop the spread of the Ebola virus. We will continue to defer to these experts and follow their direction on any travel protocols and precaution.
We are confident in the policies, procedures, and protocols that have been established to identify travelers who may have a communicable disease, keeping travelers safe and out of harm’s way.
As of now, we have been assured that travel and the meetings industry remain unaffected.
The CDC is not currently recommending a travel ban, nor restriction of meetings or meeting attendance. It is important for those considering traveling or attending meetings to listen to government and health officials and make their decisions based on the facts and not opinion or hyperbole from other sources. It is also important to underscore that the White House and the nation’s top health officials have emphasized that the dangers of a serious outbreak in this country remain extraordinarily low.
What we do know:
As of October 22, the Obama administration will require all travelers from countries affected by the Ebola epidemic to arrive at one of five major U.S. airports in order to undergo a health screening, officials announced Tuesday.
The administration previously instituted special Ebola screenings at five airports: Washington Dulles International Airport, O’Hare International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Now, people arriving from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will be required to travel through one of those ports of entry to ensure they undergo an interview and a temperature check.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has stated that the best way to protect ourselves is not to seal off these countries, but to work to contain the disease there. Airlines for America has prepared a Q&A about airline travel and Ebola, and the World Health Organization has issued a Global Alert and Response for those traveling to affected countries.
The CDC has resources available to answer questions about the disease and protocols:
- CDC Ebola Outbreak Resource Page
- CDC/ DHS Press Release: Enhanced Ebola Screening to Start at Five U.S. Airports for All People Entering U.S. From Ebola-Affected Countries
- CDC Ebola Q&A
- CDC Ebola Guidance for Airlines
In addition, the White House has additional information regarding their response to the crisis.
Activity from CIC Member Organizations:
The U.S. Travel Association has prepared a toolkit for members of the travel industry to use in educating its constituencies. U.S. Travel has also, in collaboration with the Chertoff Group,compiled some information and protocols, helpful when talking to clients or travelers about ebola and published expert recommendations to assist organizations in preparing for and dealing with health crises.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) will host a member-wide webinar on Ebola and emergency preparedness on Thursday, Oct. 30 2- 3 p.m. EST. This webinar will feature health and industry experts who will discuss how to prepare for Ebola and other outbreaks, including the flu, and provide additional important information.
International Association for Venue Managers (IAVM), through collaboration with the Academy for Venue Safety & Security (AVSS) has formed an Ebola Task Force to guide IAVM’s efforts in providing relevant support to the venue community. Through the efforts and collaboration of the Ebola Task Force, a new resource page has been developed for IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety & Security. Featuring current resources and relevant updates, the Ebola Resource Sitewill continue to provide information sourced from trusted experts and vetted by the task force on behalf of the venue industry.
Affected Cities Response
Gov. Rick Perry today released the following statement in response to a second Dallas health care provider being diagnosed with the Ebola Virus.
“The diagnosis of a second health care worker in Dallas reaffirms what a formidable foe this virus is. I am in daily contact with Dr. Brett Giroir and Dr. David Lakey and earlier today spoke with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to ensure state and federal management of this issue is tightly coordinated.
“This is the first time that our nation has had to deal with a threat such as this. Everyone working on this challenge – from the medical professionals at the bedside to the public health officials addressing containment of the infection – is working to end the threat posed by this disease. These individuals are keeping the health and safety of Texans and the needs of the patients as their most critical tasks. Every relevant agency at the local, state and national levels is working to support these individuals.
“I have great faith that we will succeed in this important mission; once we have put it behind us we will be the stronger for it and more prepared to meet the kinds of challenges that we as Americans are uniquely prepared to face.”