Posted by Ed Romanoff on March 5, 2020

Facts, science, and solidarity

These are the words that stood out for me from the recent official announcement of the WHO regarding the disruption caused by the current spread of the coronavirus. Now is a time to rely on data and accurate information, and just as importantly, each other. As we have learned from health scares in the past, it will be science and community that will carry us through. Leaving science to the scientists, I wanted to write you with some practical ideas for all of us in our community. In moments of crisis, words like ‘client’ and ‘vendor’ suddenly lose distinction when we’re all rightly concerned with each other’s safety and well-being.

We’ve seen interruptions to the meetings and travel business before, and each time the people, and the industry itself, has been resilient. Ultimately and eventually, there is no substitute for face to face communications. I believe that, and I imagine you do, too. So, whether you are meeting as planned, or considering alternatives, the team at PineRock have gathered to offer practical ideas and solutions for this unique moment to the many good people in our industry.

A Scottish explorer once said, “hospitality grows where it’s needed most”, which speaks to the kindness of human nature and how in difficult times we always pull together. In the spirit of community and safety, here are some meeting and travel specific recommendations we’re making to our employees and our clients, in addition to the basics of washing your hands and avoiding touching your face.

We Recommend:

  • Providing home office and remote employees access to, or information on how to obtain, a “hygiene kit”, to include antibacterial soaps/wipes (sanitizing all work surfaces, phones, etc.
  • Wiping public seating and work areas, (ie. Plane seats, tray tables, screens, etc.). 
  • Providing gloves for employees who use public transportation
  • Encouraging employees to work from home if they display even mild cold/flu like symptoms
  • If hand sanitizer is not available or out of stock, making your own hand sanitizer using rubbing alcohol mixed with aloe vera gel, along with a few drops of essential oils, (2/3 rubbing alcohol to 1/3 aloe vera gel.)
  • Restricting any team members from working on projects with internal or external exposure who has been to: China, Korea, Italy or any other level 3 nations in the last 90 days.
  • Creating sanitizing stations in high-touch areas: elevators, door handles, light switches, etc.
  • Temperature Screening. Make a thermal scanner available to all team members to uncover elevated temperatures. If a team member does have an elevated temperature, they should seek medical attention, but only if their symptoms co-occur with shortness of breath. Emergency lines are jammed with callers who don’t exhibit all the symptoms associated with COVID-19. That said, when in doubt, dial!
  • Thorough hand-washing for at least 20 seconds before entering any ballroom or meeting, internal or external, and to repeat consistently throughout the day as well. 
  • An enhanced on-site cleaning protocol for shared equipment. This includes: all equipment surfaces, worktables, and podiums as well as crew headsets, presenter microphones, and slide advancing clickers.
  • Producers should secure back-up resources for show crews, to be prepared and in the event a crew members becomes ill, or displays any cold or flu-like symptoms. We understand there may be cost involved with this.
  • Avoiding handshakes for the time being. Even fist-bumping is discouraged. Elbow tapping as a greeting is fun, or simply a wave or bow of the head. Toe-tapping might also be another way to avoid direct skin contact. No one will mind! 
  • Keeping a safe distance from one another. Experts are recommending staying at least six feet away from each other (when possible).
  • If you must sneeze or cough, make sure you are covering your mouth with your elbow to avoid spreading germs
  • In response to any strategic or enforced travel ban, we encourage identifying unique ways to continue to reinforce your message: videoconferencing, digital communications, distance learning, meetings in a box and video streaming.

Thanks for your time and I do hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions, please let us know. Here’s wishing you and your community a safe, healthy, and successful journey.



For more information, please visit:

The CDC Website

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

When coronavirus shuts down conferences, here's what happens - Los Angeles Times




Ed Romanoff

Written by Ed Romanoff

CEO and Founder of PineRock