For many RMEF supporters, volunteers and staff, banquets are an important time to gather together in celebration of all the hard work done throughout the year and raise funds for elk country. As many states and communities around the country reopen after closing down to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many are looking forward to reconnecting after spending months social distancing in accordance with local and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
This year, banquets will look a little different than in years past. RMEF has created a list of official event guidelines, based on CDC recommendations, encouraging social distancing at a minimum of six feet. Multi-person, interactive games will not be allowed, and there will be additional cleaning measures to ensure the safety of attendees. If you are able to host a banquet this season, make sure you are working with your regional director to follow RMEF’s event guidelines.
Every event will also have to adhere to state and local ordinances, and should be planned in collaboration with local health officials who can help assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Before the event, RMEF encourages committees to ask people who are sick, or exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, to stay at home. Common symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, cough and fatigue, but the CDC continues to update its symptoms list as new research is done.
Homemade cloth masks are a great way to bring personality and fun into the new safety measures being taken. The CDC recommends cloth masks be made with at least two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric. This includes anything from T-shirt fabric to quilting fabric or high thread-count fabric such as sheets and pillow cases. Your local craft store likely carries a wide variety of quilting fabric in fun patterns.
You might even be able to make your own masks or purchase masks adorned with pictures of elk or other wildlife. Embroidery can be used to customize masks, but should only be done on the outside layer as to not allow more air escape through the stitching. Masks are most effective when they have a snug, yet comfortable fit. Ear loops or ties can be used to keep the mask over your nose and mouth.
Gloves are suggested when preparing or serving food, otherwise, hand washing is the best way to combat the spread of the virus. Washing your hands with warm water and soap is enough to kill the virus. RMEF has created a number of signs that can be hung in bathrooms and around the venue to encourage hand washing. Hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol content is a good alternative, but the CDC still recommends hand washing.
Banquets this year may look a little different in many communities, but they give RMEF supporters a chance to gather with friends and family to reflect and celebrate what we’ve accomplished this year. It’s a time to thank our volunteers for their support and dedication to the RMEF mission even when it gets difficult.