The past month has seen significant change in the COVID-19 threat and risk overlay for Pennsic 49. The cancellation of major events throughout the modern world such as, The Olympic Games (July 2020) in Japan, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (July/Aug 2020) in Scotland and major events across the USA, plus the restriction of travel both nationally and internationally, have indicated to me that this world-wide pandemic is having an ongoing longer effect on the planning and running of Pennsic 49 in July/August 2020 than could have been foreseen.
In addition, last week has seen the cancellation of Æthelmearc War Practice and the closure of all schools in Pennsylvania for the rest of the school year.
Cognizant of these changes I have asked Viscount Edward to liaise with the Coopers Lake management and identify a final notification date for the continuance of Pennsic 49 in 2020.
This is not to be viewed as a cancellation of the event; it simply allows me to have a “timeline” for decision making and allows me to further consider the impact of events on my recommendations to the Pennsic Seneschals Group (PSG).
It is therefore incumbent upon me to plan for as many possible outcomes as I can foresee. To that end, I have requested that the PSG have a virtual meeting, on a mutually suitable date between 20 to 25 April 2020. At that meeting, discussions will be held regarding several impacting factors for Pennsic 49 in 2020.
My primary concern will be to ensure the safety of the Pennsic War attendees, the Coopers Lake community and staff, as well as the impact on businesses in and around Coopers Lake Campground area.
We need to also consider the recovery period for businesses in the local area that would normally supply Pennsic with part of our infrastructure for the event to run safely and effectively. This includes but is not limited to everything from the contracted EMS Service to tents and golf carts.
I have been in discussions with James Brezel from the Coopers Lake management group over the past weeks to ascertain their position as no matter which way we go, it will have a great financial impact on their business. I cannot comment on things that Coopers Lake Campground supplies from Porta-Johns to Coopers casual staff and the Pennsic Store, I will leave that to James and the Coopers Lake management to evaluate as they know that side well and what effects COVID-19 has had on the supply chain to them.
All the above needs to be considered and discussed before any final decision/s are made. That decision does not include the overarching authority by local, county, state or federal agencies that would override any decision made by either ourselves or Coopers Lake management and which is beyond our control.
I am looking at a lot and taking into account all options and considerations not only for the people who attend Pennsic every year, but also for the Coopers management and staff. In addition, we need to consider the impact and opinions of the local people and businesses, in and around Pennsic. I especially need to look at if the local businesses can still supply or are in a position to supply the attendees to Pennsic 49.
On top of this we need to consider the impact on the local community of 8,000 to 10,000 people turning up from all over the USA and internationally and what the health effect that may have both physically and reputation-wise to the SCA, Pennsic, and the Coopers Lake Campground.
Add to that the constant changing figures in the USA, shutdown of state borders, local, county, state, and federal changes in the movement of people, and last but not least the projected recovery time, even if this bottoms out by the end of June. This is a juggling game where we cannot afford to drop a ball. So, I am being measured, careful, factual, and logical in our approach.
Be assured, we are all working towards the best possible solution. It is my desire to have a final decision advertised no later than 15 May 2020. This will allow people to change plans if necessary and/or prepare for a Pennsic that might be very different to that we have attended before.
As you are all no doubt aware by now… I like to Plan for the Known and Prepare for the Unknown. I have a fantastic staff and great support from the PSG and Coopers Lake management.
I will keep you all advised on the outcome of our discussions and planning.
In Service to you all