Michael Crestohl, W1RC/VE2XL writes on January 12th, 2021:
To the Amateur Radio Community:
Bad news again, I am afraid.
After giving the matter much careful research, thought, discussion and consideration my accomplices and I have come to the conclusion that holding our semi-annual hamfest on April 30th and May 1st 2021 as scheduled could very possibly endanger the health and safety of our staff members, our exhibitors, vendors, attendees and local area residents. It is a risk that we do not in good conscience wish to assume. Therefore we have decided that our next event will be held on October 15th and 16th, 2021 as scheduled.
Tickets being sold for the Spring event will be honored in October. However, anyone wanting a full refund can have their money back.
We have based our decision on the following observations.
1. The average current number of new Covid-19 cases reported daily in Massachusetts is at an all-time high. On January 8th alone the number of new cases reported was 7,110. Since a very large number of attendees come from Mass. and beyond these figures are highly significant.
2. The vaccines that are now being made available are being administered at a slower rate than was initially anticipated. It was estimated by the CDC that 10,000,000 individuals would have been vaccinated by January 1st 2021 when in fact only 2,000,000 people were actually inoculated by that date. Phase 2 (which includes people over 65 years of age) is estimated to take commence in February provided everything is on schedule. Phase 3 (which is everyone else) is scheduled for April-June. This is, of course, subject to change.
The time delay between the first injection and fully effective immunization is five to six weeks.
3. Even if we WANTED to do it the state limits on attendees allowed at such events would probably prevent it. Additionally we have no actual contract with the Fair Association and, quite frankly, I don’t even want to ask.
Given all of the above it is abundantly clear that a relatively low number of people will have received both their injections with sufficient time elapsed for full protection of the vaccine to be in effect in time for the hamfest opening on April 30th. It is our desire to resume the hamfest only at such time when it is safe to do so and my main criteria for that is when a large majority if not all attendees have been vaccinated.
Under these circumstances my team and I have come to the unanimous conclusion that April 30th is clearly too early to safely hold the hamfest and it should not be held until October.
On the other hand we feel that by Labor Day 2021 there will have been sufficient supplies of the vaccines produced and administered to everybody who wants it and, barring any unforeseen developments, it will be reasonably safe once again to hold large public gatherings like the Deerfield Fair, the HamXposition at Marlborough MA in September and NEAR-Fest XXX on October 15th and 16th at the Deerfield Fairgrounds.
Please tell all your buddies and plan to attend our grand “NEAR-Fest Homecoming.” We are planning the biggest blowout bash to celebrate our return after missing three NEAR-Fests. You can bet this one will be memorable and you won’t won’t want to miss it.
Advance tickets are still on sale.
Michael Crestohl, W1RC/VE2XL
The New England Amateur Radio Festival, Inc.