In late 2019, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 began to spread rapidly through the global human population. This virus causes the disease COVID-19. As of March 2020, his disease has spread through the United States, sparking the cancelation of many public events, closures of schools and universities, and a shift towards people working from home.
At a meeting of the Board on March 16th, 2020, the Board voted unanimously to cancel the MWMA’s agreement with the Bethel Horizons camp and not schedule a physical gathering of more than 200 Morris dancers for Memorial Day weekend.
The decision was made after the Board listened to presentations from our Treasurer, medical professionals, and members of the host teams about the challenges the 2020 Ale would face as an in-person gathering in May. While the Board understood the Morris community’s desire to gather, share, and see friends, they also understood that the stress of trying to provide a safe 2020 Ale for all would likely outweigh the benefits.
With our cancellation of a physical Ale in Wisconsin, the Board would like to extend an invitation to all Morris teams to participate in a Virtual Ale this summer. This idea is still forming. More details will follow over the coming weeks as this community project takes shape. If you’re interested in joining the “Host Team” of this Virtual Ale, read more about our project here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the Ale be canceled in 2020?
Yes. We have decided to cancel our contract with the camp in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. This means that we will not be gathering for an in-person Ale on Memorial Day weekend, 2020. We know that it’s disappointing not to gather with friends and other teams, but given the extreme conditions with this global pandemic, we feel that it is ethically and socially the right decision.
… but I’ll miss everyone at the Ale!! Is there something else we can do to come together as a community?
Yes! We are exploring other options for a community gathering that would not involve out-of-state travel for most attendees — but something that would preserve the spirit of dance and camaraderie we love about the Ale. We’ve talked about the idea of a Virtual Ale, which would rely heavily on technology and allow us to share some time with other community members.
Interested in joining the “Host Team” of the 2020 Virtual Ale? We are looking for people who are feeling isolated by the pandemic who are ready to pour some energy and time into helping us create this community-driven project. Visit our page to learn more and volunteer.
What is the financial impact on the Midwest Morris Ale as an organization?
As of March 2020, we have paid a deposit of $2,000 with the camp. This deposit is non-refundable, but the camp is graciously allowing us to use the $2,000 as a credit for a reservation for a future date. We look forward to returning to Bethel Horizons.
In the unlikely event that we are unable to book Bethel Horizons as a site for a future Ale, we will lose $2,000. It is comparable to a few instances in the past decade when fewer people have come to the Ale than projected. This is a financial loss we can afford.
What about the Financial Aid Fund, and donations?
The Financial Aid fund is in great shape, thanks to everyone’s participation via the Silent Auction, donations, and ongoing support from the entire community. Since we will not be giving out financial aid for
If you are moved to make a donation to the Midwest Morris Ale, Inc., there’s a button on our website’s front page.
What if the CDC restrictions for gatherings are lifted by Memorial Day weekend, 2020?
The MWMA Board met with the organizing teams, General Hardware and Oak Apple, along with Squires from many teams who regularly attend the Ale. As a group, we discussed the potential consequences of hosting an event that would gather teams from across the country, where dancers would ride together in close quarters on buses, perform in public places, and then each travel back to their home communities.
Given the current information that is available about the pandemic, and the uncertainty about projections for the next few months, we feel that it would be irresponsible for our community to gather in-person in May, even if conditions change dramatically. Even if you yourself are not in a high-risk group, you have the potential to affect others who may be. Let’s take care of each other as a community and decrease risk.
What if we postponed the Ale for a different date?
Another option we have discussed is postponing the 2020 Ale to later in the year. We may be able to reschedule at Bethel Horizons camp for a different date. Before we decide to reschedule the Ale, we would send out a poll to teams to identify a date most likely to work for many dancers.
What does this mean for our community?
As a community, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of everyone. Our Morris community is spread across multiple states and time zones, and holding an Ale poses an increased risk of exposure for all attendees. Our decision to cancel the in-person Ale in 2020 was made with the health and safety of our entire community in mind.
Even within our own home teams, some people may choose or be required to self-quarantine, due to possible exposure or their own health history. There may come a time when gatherings as small as team practice are suspended. We encourage everyone to be supportive in their teams and use technology, where applicable, to reach out to team members and community members who may be unable to visit in person or travel.
The web team is actively discussing how they can help facilitate the use of technology among and across teams. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out directly to them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about COVID-19
The spread of the disease has been very fast, and the information we all receive is also rapidly changing. Every day brings new information, and conditions are sometimes changing hourly.
We urge everyone in the community to take the pandemic seriously. This is not just a bad flu. Social distancing is critical.
In the next few months, this pandemic will change the way we live. Please follow guidelines and best practices as outlined by the United States Centers for Disease Control, and stay informed about recommendations from your local community, County, or State agencies.
More information can be found here:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Summary, Travel Information, Community Prevention, What You Should Know https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
- Real-Time Updates and Case Map: https://coronavirus.1point3acres.com/en
- Case tracking globally: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
- TLDR: Stop All Social Dancing. Now. https://www.danceplace.com/grapevine/dance-in-the-time-of-corona-an-update/
Last update March 19, 2020.