The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
March 17th, 2020

What COVID-19 Could Mean for Conference Busy Season

This time of year, my calendar is typically full of upcoming industry meetings and conferences. It’s the busy season for these kinds of gatherings, when a lot of important work gets done by a variety of industry stakeholders.

But there’s no ignoring the spread of COVID-19 throughout the U.S., and many large-scale gatherings have been cancelled or postponed within the past week. As I was writing this blog, I received word that the annual WDMA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., has been canceled. The 2020 PACENation Summit, another one on my calendar, has been postponed indefinitely. And in Germany, Fensterbau Frontale—one of the biggest fenestration shows in the world—has been rescheduled for June.

Outside of our industry, the biggest headline so far is perhaps the suspension of the NBA season. Many states, like Ohio, New York and Washington, are banning large group gatherings, so even if organizers are prepared to go ahead in certain locations, they may be prohibited from doing so. It’s possible we’ll see more announcements like this soon.

Now, throughout the more than 40 years of my career, I have witnessed SARS, Avian Bird Flu, H1N1 and now COVID-19. Although each of these outbreaks were very disruptive to global industry, they eventually passed—and I’m confident that as society takes the right precautions, this one will as well. It’s worth reflecting on the millions of cases of common influenza that occur every year, resulting in thousands of deaths as well.

Legislators in Congress and President Trump’s administration are currently mulling over the proper government response from an economic perspective. I’ll be keeping a close eye on those developments and how they could impact our industry. But The View From Here is that right now, we need to rely on the experts in the medical community to make the right decisions and guide our collective response to this challenge.

For the rest of us, the best we can do is practice the commonsense habits of hand washing and maintaining a reasonable distance from other people in crowds. It’s likely we have an interesting few weeks ahead of us.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.



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