Why I’m Not Attending CiderCon 2022

In reference to my blog post below, it was not intended to cast a bad light on the American Cider Association, its board members, CiderCon or those attending. Nor was there any implication that people should not attend or that the board is being irresponsible. This is simply an expression of concerns regarding appearing at any mass congregation. At no point in my blog post did I state or imply for anyone not to attend CiderCon 2022. I wished for this to be a successful convention and for the success of their future conventions.

This post was written collectively between myself and concerned cider professionals. 

Over the last 5 years, I’ve been active in the cider community working closely with numerous cideries, including presenting at American Cider Association workshops and CiderCon for the past 2 years. As a female public figure in this industry, I do my best to speak up for equality and present concerns our industry faces, so that we may move forward together. 

Many of you have asked if I will be attending CiderCon this year. Sadly, I join many cideries, influencers, and industry professionals on choosing not to attend due to the lack of safety precautions detailed in the CiderCon 2022 Health and Safety Guidelines. The ACA strives for equality, yet disregards everyone’s safety with their imprudent parameters. Like many other cider professionals, we rely on CiderCon as the premier platform in our industry featuring insightful workshops and networking. It is with great disappointment that we will suffer a loss, in addition to the financial hardship this pandemic has caused. 

While Virginia’s COVID-19 surge skyrockets, the protocols in place are at a minimum, jeopardizing the safety and wellness of all attendees and their networks. As we all know, being fully vaccinated and boosted are not sufficient. Instead of only testing unvaccinated attendees (which is a small percentage), it would have been in everyone’s best interest to require rapid testing for all attendees, regardless of vaccination status. 

After reaching out to the ACA urging suggestions for safer health measures, their response to stand behind their initial guidelines was disappointing (ACA Response). In their letter, the ACA board proves to be satisfied with the CiderCon’s guidelines and states that their policy is stricter than the Virginia State Health Department or the Convention Center. However as a private event, there are additional measures that can be put in place, yet they chose not to do so. Even stressing that they will provide only one KN95 mask per participant is inadequate and unhygienic.

There are other ways to mitigate the exposure such as:

  • Additional KN95 Masks per person 
  • Rapid tests at the door to ensure safety for ALL
  • Hybrid CiderCon 2022 (Convention Center accommodating a small percentage of attendees in person, while the remainder of attendees could participate virtually)

Like many others, I trusted the ACA to provide a safe conference so all of us could have had a choice to attend. Their decision was not inclusive to all, and I know I speak for many when I say, the ACA has failed us. I just hope that this message will be well-received as constructive feedback to the board, so they may choose to put the industry and the well-being of attendees first moving forward.

Author: thebrewbabe

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