Will We Be Able to Hold the 2020 National

Will we be able to hold our National Specialty?

By Dr. Lisa Costello, 2020 AWC National Specialty Local Chair  • May 19, 2020

I have never wanted to return to Oz as much as I do these days. Sometimes the 2019 AWC National seems but a fleeting dream with all that has transpired since. No doubt many of you feel the same. You can call it what you want; trying times, challenging times, unprecedented times, etc. but one thing is for sure: unless you have lived in Africa or a third world country and seen a pandemic up close, this is a first for all of us.
As we begin to open up around the country and lives slowly return to some semblance of normalcy, many questions remain. How do we open up? How do we continue to be safe? When will we really be able go about life with no restrictions? Will there be a vaccine? How do we achieve herd immunity? I have my own thoughts on the matter but those are irrelevant here. We must follow the guidelines and mandates of those above us and for Illinois, that means Governor JB Pritzker. Chicago (the city of Chicago and outlying suburbs) has been a hot spot for COVID 19 and has therefore guided the majority of his actions in response to the pan- demic. He has come up with the following five phase reopening plan. We are currently in Phase 2 and he plans to move us to Phase 3 by the end of May. Phase 4 and 5 remain in question.
Governor Pritzker is following the metrics on the pandemic and basing his actions on the "science and numbers", however accurate those may be. It is really the most objective way he can create policy to try and keep the people in this state healthy. We have no way of knowing when he will move us to Stage 4 and eventually to Stage 5 as some of the things he re- quires in Stage 5 will not happen until 2021 at the earliest. If he does not release the state and allow us to move on to Stage 5 by end of summer/ early fall, we will have no choice but to cancel the National. Believe me when I say this is really not what we want to do!

Cindy Scott and I discuss this on an almost daily basis. Our uncertain future has also been discussed with the AWC Board of Directors. Initially I tried to get creative and figure out ways we could social distance at the hotel, wear masks, have sanitation stations, possibly show outside, have one dog in the ring at a time and do all we could to maintain healthy practices but in the end, if those things are required at the time the show is held then it would be irresponsible of us to even have the show.
As opposed to the many all-breed shows and Specialties/National specialties that have cancelled to date, the AWC has a significant amount of money invested in this show as we had everything ordered and ready to take to Peoria; welcome bags, trophies, plates, ribbons, supplies as well as deposits, insurance pay- ments, etc. In addition to that, all of us would really like to hold our National so exhibitors have a chance to get out and show their dogs, socialize at our wonderful annual event and give all of us a chance to enjoy that small piece of life again we so dearly love.
At the same time, we must keep the safety and health of our judges, members, vendors, exhibitors and anyone else who may attend first and foremost. Although Decatur is in the central portion of the state, we really need to pay attention to what is happening across the country. To that end, we have decided to follow the trends through the summer months. Our premium list is not slated to be released until the end of July and AKC has allowed us to loosen the restrictions on deadlines. Cindy and I will continue to discuss weekly and will stay in close communication with the board.
Because we have no further purchases to make for the show, we have the luxury to wait and see what the warmer months and the gradual reopening will do to the numbers. We likely will not open the hotel for res- ervations until July at the earliest. If we do end up having to cancel the show, that will be another conversation entirely regarding the remainder of refunds and also the refunding of all entry fees. We plan to keep you updated on the very latest news on both the Facebook page and AWC Website.
Please believe me when I tell you we are doing all we can to have this show IF (and that is a huge IF) it is safe enough to do so by the fall.
Lisa Costello
Frazzled AWC Show Chair 2020

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