President’s Message to Section and Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs re: COVID-19
TO: Florida Bar Section and Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is rising daily in the United States, causing many to cancel non-essential travel to avoid coming in contact with individuals who may be infected but not yet diagnosed and to prevent further spread of the virus. Florida has declared a public health emergency and issued guidance regarding attending live events that are considered “mass gatherings.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) expect more cases of COVID-19 to be identified in the U.S. in the coming days, including more instances of community spread.
I know you agree that the health and safety of Florida Bar members and our staff is a top priority and that concerns about COVID-19 are growing daily.
My strong recommendation is that you immediately review all live events being hosted by your section or committee scheduled through April 30 and consider cancelling or postponing and exploring alternatives to in-person meetings via technology and electronic communications.
Your staff liaisons can facilitate the use of teleconferencing, video conferencing or other virtual meeting options, as well as communications with your members and other expected attendees as to any rescheduling and meeting format changes. They will also help you to identify any deadlines that may affect attendees such as dates for cancellation of hotel reservations without penalties.
However, if you determine that cancelling your live meetings through April 30 is not possible, our staff will provide onsite support as long as no travel restrictions are imposed by the government or the Florida Supreme Court.
The Florida Bar is providing information and updates via a webpage at www.floridabar.org/covid19 to centralize communications to all Bar members including court announcements, cancellations, rescheduled meetings and any other matters that may affect lawyers and our clients.
Thank you for your time and efforts on behalf of our Bar and please contact me if you have questions or concerns. Thank you.
John M. Stewart, Esq.
Florida Bar President
March 13, 2020