As the pandemic continues, states are looking for ways to ensure the safety of residents and prevent further outbreaks. This means numerous regulations and guidelines – particularly regarding any public gathering or event.
This may seem frustrating, but with advance planning, patience, and communication, clubs may have a better chance of success.
As clubs prepare for their year-end meetings and continue discussing plans for 2021, AKC Government Relations encourages you to review our blog on “Working With Public Officials When Planning an Event During COVID”.
While there are no guarantees, following the guidelines we provide can help clubs as they work to plan and get approval for 2021 events. These include:
1) Go Local – Ultimately, counties are by and large responsible for enforcing guidelines and orders. In many states, guidelines even vary by county. When planning, reach out first to your county public health department. As local constituents, too, you are in the best position to explain your event and its value to the community. We encourage you to first check the AKC Legislative Action Center, as we provide regular updates on state and local guidelines.
2) Be Patient and Plan Ahead – Public officials are dealing with a number of issues beyond just approving dog shows and events. Plus, many are learning about these events for the first time. Give them ample opportunity to review, ask questions, etc. One public official AKC GR spoke with was also an AKC club member, and they indicated they were working with county officials 6 months out in order to have plenty of time for approval, and then entries, judges, and all the other show logistics.
The AKC GR blog offers more suggestions, guidelines, and details on how to effectively contact and work with local officials when planning an event. In addition to reading it online, we also have a printable version that can be shared.
We also encourage you to regularly visit the AKC Legislative Action Center (www.akcgr.org), and in particular our Key Issue page www.akcgr.org/covid19, which provides updated resources and information for clubs and dog owners on legislative issues related to COVID-19.
For non-government relations-related updates on COVID-19, including information on the impact on dog sports, and best practices by sport, visit https://www.akc.org/press-center/covid-19-updates-from-the-american-kennel-club.