COVID Event Safety and Responsibility
Our commitment remains to prioritize the safety of Convergence® attendees. We reserve the right to modify these policies and procedures at any time given the rapidly changing nature of the current global pandemic. We will continue to monitor and update safety precautions for the HGA Convergence® conference regularly and coordinate with trusted national resources, state and local public health agencies, and the hotels/venues hosting the event.
HGA EVENT SAFETY DURING THE PANDEMIC
UPDATED April 18, 2022
We can't wait to gather in person this summer, and the health and safety of everyone who attends is our top priority. We want you to feel completely confident about your decision to join us for the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc.’s (HGA) 2022 Convergence® conference. We’re carefully tracking all the latest health and safety guidance for large group gatherings from the CDC, the TN Department of Health, and the Knoxville Convention Center, as they work with suppliers in environmental services, health and safety technology upgrades, food & beverage, and other services.
The CDC has launched new guidance regarding COVID-19 Community Levels. Recently U.S. states and cities have relaxed restrictions and no longer require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result for entry to large indoor events. At the same time, due to rising cases, Philadelphia has reinstated a mask mandate even though they have no vaccine requirement. Considering that COVID-19 is a fluid situation, HGA will require masks, but HGA is not requiring vaccination verification at the HGA Convergence® conference.
HGA strongly encourages that all participants at the in-person 2022 Convergence® conference, whether a presenter, attendee, exhibitor, staff, guest, or vendor will be to be fully vaccinated. The CDC updated their Vaccines website to indicate the status of "Fully Vaccinated" and "Up To Date".
- "Full vaccination" means that either 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of FDA or WHO authorized (or emergency use authorized) double-dozed vaccines or single-dose vaccine.
- "Up to Date" means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.
We strongly encourage all attendees who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 Booster in addition to being fully vaccinated. Vaccination is a personal choice, and we ask that everyone makes their choice responsibly
HGA strongly encourages individuals to be tested for COVID prior to traveling to the 2022 Convergence® conference. Individuals who test positive should stay home and cancel your registration.
As of April 18, 2022, we have updated our policies to the below and we reserve the right to modify these policies and procedures at any time given the rapidly changing nature of the current global pandemic. We will continue to monitor and update safety precautions for the HGA Convergence® conference regularly and coordinate with trusted national resources, state and local public health agencies, and the hotels/venues hosting the event. Any change in protocols will be communicated via the HGA Website and to registrants via email.
Given the numbers of individuals coming from around the world, masks will be required at all HGA events and HGA contracted venues including but not limited to meetings in hotels, the convention center, on the exhibit floor, and on shuttle buses regardless of whether it is required by law at the time of the 2022 Convergence® conference. Participants should wear N95, KN95, or KF94 masks throughout the event. Surgical (procedure) masks; cloth masks with KN95 or appropriate filter; or cloth masks over a procedure mask, KN95, KF94, or N95, will be accepted as facial coverings at the 2022 Convergence® conference. Cloth masks alone, gaiter, and bandanas will not be permitted.
Masks must be worn at all times, except while actively eating/drinking, and in any venue that is considered a HGA event space (both on-site and off-site venues). All Leaders will be required to present with masks on and, if necessary, use provided microphones to amplify sound. Masks must cover both the mouth and nose. We ask that participants honor the requests of others to mask up and/or maintain physical distancing.
The CDC updated their face coverings website on January 14, 2022. To help evaluate your mask purchase, please use the CDC website on evaluating purchases of KN95, N95, and other masks. Find Free Masks.
Individuals who have a documented disability which precludes the wearing of a mask may request a modification to mask policies. Please contact HGA at HGA@WeaveSpinDye.org to discuss modification(s) to mask policies.
While many venues are not currently requiring physical distancing, HGA will provide physically-distant seating and event space set-up to allow individuals who wish to physically distance while in sessions to do so comfortably. Additionally, to help attendees communicate their level of comfort in interacting with one another, HGA will provide color-coded stickers to all onsite attendees:
- Red = Physical Distancing - Greet from Six Feet
- Yellow= Elbows Only
- Green = Handshakes and Hi-fives
HGA would like to share several protocols which we will follow, along with the Knoxville Convention Center and our vendors, to ensure safety during the event. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Attendee registration packets will be mailed in advance. This will reduce the likelihood of long lines which can pose a challenge to social distancing.
- Mailed with the registration packets, attendees will receive a health attestation form which they will be required to complete prior to picking up onsite their CVP goody bags or meal tickets.
- Session Leaders are asked to remind attendees at the start of a session that masks are required.
- Meeting rooms in which convention programming takes place will be arranged to allow social distancing.
- HGA requires wearing masks at all times, except for when actively eating or drinking.
- Food and beverage functions will be adjusted to reduce lines, crowds and high touch surfaces.
- Hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes will be available throughout the venue for attendee use.
- The venue's ventilation methods are up to code and either meet or exceed standards set by the local health department. The convention center and hotels uses Merv 8 and Merv 13 filters with maximum outside air.
- Attendees staying in the HGA block of hotel rooms will be able to opt out of housekeeping.
- Attendees will be asked to dine in designated areas only based on vaccination status.
- Vaccination is required for anyone working during the event who might be near an area containing food and beverage such as those working in banquets or facility services.
- While attendees are asked to bring their own masks, HGA will provide one complimentary N95 mask in the CVP goody bags and will have a limited number available upon request at the registration counter for emergency use only.
- HGA will have a limited number of self-tests available upon request to attendees who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Contact member services at Membership@WeaveSpinDye.org to request that a test be delivered to your hotel room. HGA can only deliver tests to official meeting hotels.
HGA reserves the right to update the plan, as necessary, in accordance with state and local safety measures, scientific guidelines, the common good, and public health needs.
Venue and Location COVID-19 Safety Information
HGA event planners will ensure that cleaning and sanitation guidelines and procedures are listed from vendors, facilities, and local areas. We are gathering these processes and procedures and will update this page as we confirm the requirements for each venue.
HGA is contracting event space from the venue and therefore is able to maintain rules and regulations for that space alone. HGA is not responsible, nor are we able to, require masks or vaccination for the other spaces or areas where the Convergence® conference is not being held. HGA is not able to require vaccinations of the venue’s staff, but we can require masking of staff working HGA contracted space.
We ask that you will:
Allow for social distancing when possible.
Not attend the 2022 Convergence® conference if you have knowingly been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19 within the fourteen (14) days prior to the Convergence® conference or if you are experiencing or have experienced COVID-19 symptoms within the fourteen (14) days prior to the Convergence® conference.
Notify HGA at HGA@WeaveSpinDye.org if you experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 at any time during the Convergence® conference or within 14 days after participating in the event. Please note, that this information will be held strictly confidential. It will only be used to inform other event attendees of the possibility of exposure (and such notice will not include your name).
We request that you understand:
Traveling to and attending the 2022 Convergence® conference could increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
HGA is not responsible for the Venue’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts (or lack thereof) or any negligence by the Venue or its staff relative to such precautions.
When attending, you will be asked to indicate your agreement to the following:
I acknowledge and agree that I am attending the 2022 Convergence® conference voluntarily and at my own risk, and that I release and waive any claim I might have against the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc. and its officers, directors, employees, and agents for any and all liability or responsibility for any illness, damages, or injury whatsoever that I may incur in connection with my attendance at Convergence® conference, including, without limitation, as a result of exposure to COVID-19 or the manner in which the conference is conducted.
What To Do if You Experience COVID-19 Symptoms or Test Positive During the 2022 Convergence® Conference
- Please return to your hotel room - CDC guidelines and local guidelines direct people experiencing symptoms or testing positive to isolate or quarantine.
- Please alert HGA by emailing HGA@WeaveSpinDye.org as soon as possible.
- HGA will have a limited number of rapid COVID-19 tests and can deliver one to your hotel door for self-testing.
- Seek medical assistance as soon as possible; HGA will have a list of available medical facilities. Alternatively, if living nearby, depart as soon as possible.
- The nearest hospital to the Knoxville Convention Center is the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, 1901 W Clinch Ave, Knoxville, (865) 331-1111.
- The nearest 24-hour pharmacy to the Knoxville Convention Center is Walgreens, 4001 Chapman Hwy, Knoxville, (800) 925-4733.
- The nearest urgent care clinic to the Knoxville Convention Center is Convenient Care Downtown, 418 S Gay St Ste 103, Knoxville, (865) 525-4520.
- The nearest testing location to the Knoxville Convention Center is the COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing at Walgreens, 4001 Chapman Hwy, Knoxville, (800) 925-4733.
Health Screening and Reducing the Spread
HGA recommends that all participants screen themselves daily for symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2 – 14 days after exposure to the virus. The following symptoms are outlined on the CDC Website indicating an individual may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Individuals who have these symptoms and are unwell should not attend the Convergence® conference. Additionally, if the person is onsite, affected individuals should notify HGA to allow for additional communication to participants.
Reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If water is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Personnel must be able to wash their hands after touching any surface/tool suspected of being contaminated, before and after eating or using the restroom, and before touching their face.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Practicing physical distancing
- Wearing a mask when indoors
- Avoiding contact with people who are sick
- Staying home while sick and avoiding close contact with others
- Covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately disposing of the used tissue
The CDC provides detailed information on when and how to wash your hands. Key times to wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water) include:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after treating a wound
- Before and after removing gloves or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Before exiting a laboratory
- After using the toilet
- After contact with frequently touched surfaces (e.g., elevators, lobby areas, reception desks)
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
For further information, please visit the following websites:
How to Register
- Online - The preferred registration method of HGA, secure and includes an immediate email confirmation
- Phone (678) 730-0010 – Available Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST
Convergence® Marketplace, Special Events, and Tours are open to the general public with the purchase of a Day Pass/and or Ticket. CVP’s and Session registrations are limited to Individual, Family, Student, and Professional Artist members of the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc. All purchases are non-refundable, Sessions are the exception.
Registration is first-come, first-served and will close June 21, 2022 for Workshops. Meal Plans must be purchased by July 11, 2022. Registration for Seminars, CVP’s, Events, Tours, Etc. will continue until Noon the day before their start. Registrations received after July 11, 2022 are based on availability and subject to an additional late fee of $25. Fiber Trust supporters who have given a financial gift of $100 or more in 2021 qualify for Priority Registration. See page 42 for more information about donating to the Fiber Trust or call (678) 730-0010.
HGA supports our Marketplace vendors by providing a list of registered attendees (includes name, state/province, country, and email address). Your participation supports small fiber art businesses, and your privacy is HGA’s first concern. If you wish to not include your name and email address on the list, you may opt out at registration.
Supplies and Material Fees
Session supply lists are available on our website. Session materials fees are payable to the Leader and collected by the Leader at the start of the Session. HGA will not accept supply and material fees.
Changes and Cancellations
Changes: Sessions may be changed to a Session at an equivalent or higher registration fee if made in writing by April 15, 2022. Changes will incur a $25 administration fee per Session. Sessions may not be changed after April 15, 2022.
Cancellations: Membership dues and tickets purchased for Convergence® events (Fashion Show, Keynote Presentation, Meals, Tours, Juror Talks, etc.) are non-refundable. Session cancellations must be made in writing by May 1, 2022 and will incur a $50 cancellation fee per Session. Session registration fees are non-refundable for cancellations made after May 1, 2022.
All Sessions and Tours require a minimum number of participants. HGA reserves the right to cancel Sessions and Tours if there is insufficient registration. If we must cancel a Session or Tour HGA will issue a full refund.
Statement from the Knoxville Convention Center
The Knoxville Convention Center is dedicated to delivering a safe environment for our guests. We have put into action ASM Global’s VenueShield program. Our comprehensive and industry-leading program implements procedures and protocols that align with approvals from local government officials and health care experts to provide the highest level of safety, security and consumer confidence. Guests will find reminders of the five core actions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and hand sanitizers at all touch points, throughout the facility; and masks are required for non-vaccinated individuals. The Knoxville Convention Center is operating diligently with trusted protection for the live experience.