After many discussions and interviews we have taken the decision to not organize VDZ on 2020. The risk is too high and we cannot grant the necessary security to all our attendees with the current conditions.
We are now going to communicate with all the attendees and sponsor. We will give the option to move the tickets and sponsorships to next year edition or to ask the money back.
After talking with all our speakers, sponsors and staff members we have taken the decision to postpone the conference to September 15th, 2020.
We prepared a newsletter to announce the new date and explain our decision. We hope you understand, it has not been easy, and we hope to see you all in September for VDZ20.
Canton Zurich Health Department is now advising that events with many people in close physical contact in closed rooms should not be held (source). As the situation is rapidly evolving we expect further restrictions in the upcoming days. 🙁
Canton Zurich Health Department confirmed our event can be done without restrictions. On the 2nd of March 2020, we have asked all our speakers to confirm their presence and, at the moment, everyone answered they will come to the event next week. From a total of 35 speakers, we are still waiting for 4 answers.
In the meantime, BAG has published a list of affected areas (link)
Areas affected means: Areas in which continued transmission of the virus from person to person is taking place or can be suspected.
Affected areas include China, Iran, South Korea, Singapore and in Italy the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto.
They recommend that for 14 days after you exit from an affected area you should avoid large gatherings of people, such as sporting events and public transport.
We kindly ask all our attendees to not come to the event if they have been to one of those regions in the 14 days before VDZ20, inform us and we will reimburse the ticket.
On the 28th of February 2020, 11 days before VDZ20, the Swiss Federal Council has decided to forbid all the events with more than 1’000 attendees (source).
There is a short paragraph that is relevant to VDZ20:
In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1000 people would gather, event organizers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held.
Voxxed Days Zürich will have between 500 and 600 attendees, so we are now in the process of preparing the risk assessment with the Canton Zürich Department of Health (https://gd.zh.ch/internet/gesundheitsdirektion/de/themen/coronavirus.html).
Aiming to be completely transparent with our attendees, speakers, and sponsors about how we handle this emergency, here is the letter we have sent to the Health Department to apply for special approval.
We understand and completely support the Federal Council’s priority to protect the population, so if we would not satisfy all the requirements of the Health Department we will postpone the event and take all possible actions to reduce the impact of this decision on our attendees, speakers, and sponsors.
We are also convinced that we should find a way to continue despite the virus. Panic is not a good reaction! We should define all the possible processes and security steps to best return to reality.
Our aim is that together with the Health Department, we will define a minimal set of rules that would also allow other events to be organized and managed safely.
To all our supporters and friends of the development community, if you have any other idea that could help us manage this emergency situation, please let us know via twitter @VoxxedZurich
Letter to the Canton Zürich Health Department:
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
we are Federico Yankelevich and Patrick Baumgartner, main organizers of the Voxxed Days Zürich software developer conference (https://voxxeddays.com/zurich) that will happen on the 10th of March 2020 in Sihlcity cinema.
We currently have 505 attendees registered (90% from the Swiss-German region) and 35 international speakers.
We have seen today’s decision from the Federal Council (https://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-78289.html) which bans events with more than 1’000 participants and requires event organizers to get in contact with competent cantonal authorities for smaller events.
As organizers, we are introducing some special measures to increase safety and reduce risks and we would like to review them with you to get the approval to hold the conference.
Here how we plan to handle the COVID-19 emergency before, during and after our event:
– we already have the name, surname and email address of all the participants. We can contact each of them directly.
– Before the event, we ask everybody that has been in a risk area or doesn’t feel well to not come to the event (and we reimburse the ticket)
– If during check-in somebody seems sick we will reject them and reimburse the ticket
– we introduce hand sanitizers all around the event and any other improvements that could help to reduce the risk of infection
– we ask all the attendees to inform us in case somebody has Coronavirus symptoms after the event. If this happens, we will immediately broadcast the info to all attendees that were present at the event and provide the list of participants to competent authorities.
We hope you can help us in defining the best rules and processes to handle an event like VDZ during these difficult times.
thanks a lot,
Patrick Baumgartner and Federico Yankelevich