The 75th Annual Workers' Compensation Educational Conference is fast approaching, scheduled in Orlando, FL from December 12 – 15, 2021. It is a production of the Workers' Compensation Institute (WCI) and is unquestionably the largest and most comprehensive event in the nation for the workers' compensation industry. This year is different in a variety of ways, but all for a singular reason; Covid.
The 2020 In-Person Conference was postponed due to the pandemic, and the 2021 event, which normally would have occurred in August, has been pushed back to December. WCI organizers were looking to put as much space as possible between the pandemic's worst days and their event. They are also committed to a return to normalcy, recognizing that as a society we simply cannot hide in a virtual bubble forever.
While they are committed to the normality of an in-person event, they certainly have not neglected an obligation to provide as safe an environment as possible. In discussions with them, I can assure you that safety is first and foremost on their minds. At least one conference reception and numerous private receptions have been moved to outdoor locations this year. The lobby bar (a legendary WCI experience) may extend outside, while inside services will be spaced out as much as possible. WCI always provides adequate seating for their many sessions, so proper spacing during most of those events should not be a concern.
The conference has even arranged for Tampa General Hospital to provide COVID vaccines (dose 1, 2, and boosters) to those who wish to get “the jab” while there. TGH is asking for people to pre-register for that so they may bring the appropriate amount of vaccine. If you would like to take advantage of that, you may register here. In addition, Care Now Orlando Urgent Care will also be providing flu vaccines.
We all remember the flu, don't we? It's what used to make people sick before Covid stole its thunder.
The good news is that Covid counts in Florida are down dramatically. There were 10,828 new cases reported in the state for the week ending November 18. That is a 92.9% drop from the high point in August when one week recorded 151,675 new cases. As a result, we have heard from sources that the conference hotel has removed many of the restrictions once in place.
This is Florida, after all, and “business as usual” is what we do. We just do it standing a little further from one another. An unexpected benefit of that distancing is I may look a bit thinner from afar. But I doubt it.
There are some terrific events planned this year at WCI. The traditional Give Kids The World Gala (one of WCI's many philanthropic endeavors) will this year be held outside as the GKTW Night of a Million Lights Gala. The village has paired with the Disney folks for a spectacular Christmas display, and WCI attendees will have the opportunity at this fundraising event to explore the decorated village on Saturday, December 11.
And of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Kids' Chance Golf Tournament at WCI, being held on December 12. That tournament is already sold out for golfers, but any company wishing to be part of the action can still secure a sponsorship to support a terrific cause.
The bottom line, life must return to normal, and WCI organizers are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of their attendees. Registration rates this year are very close to previous ones, and it will be a terrific opportunity to once again network and learn in a (properly distanced) face-to-face environment.
Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
Bob has a couple unique personality characteristics. He firmly believes that everyone has the right to his (Bob's) opinion, and while he may not always be right, he is never in doubt. Enter at your own risk, and like all of our blog areas, we encourage you to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
We're not responsible for this guy.....
Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.