The following guidelines replace the previous ones published by ASCA and will remain in effect until further notice.
ASCA has received notice that one or more affiliates are planning to proceed with events, such as stockdog trials, very soon after the expiration of self-isolation orders. We offer this direction:
Isolation orders may be extended, sometimes at the last minute. Affiliates are advised to ensure the orders are not being extended before incurring non-refundable expenses and causing others to do so. Hosts and participants should not be put to a choice between a last-minute cancellation and violating an isolation order.
Events held in violation of local or state isolation orders are illegal and may subject those participating to criminal penalties. Violating isolation orders also reflects poorly on ASCA and the affiliates, and ASCA does not condone this behavior.
Event hosts should consider the potential that an event may technically be permitted under a particular order but may still lead others to violate their orders. For example, an event held near a state border might be allowed under the home state’s policy but cause those in a more restrictive adjoining state to feel they should violate the law by traveling unnecessarily from their state to the one where the event is being held. The same may apply as to a city with less restrictive orders than a neighboring one.
For events that are legal to hold, ASCA strongly encourages affiliates to make masks and hand sanitizer available at no charge to participants and for affiliates to follow the guidelines previously published by ASCA. Hand sanitizer should be available to judges, stewards, show secretaries, and course directors. These guidelines also include limiting the number of people who have access to the paperwork and having a plastic bin or box where competitors can place ribbons that they wish to donate back to the affiliate. These ribbons should not be touched or reused for 14 days. Participants should maintain social distancing of at least six feet and should not engage in the usual handshakes, hugs, high-fives, etc. that often take place at such events. Persons who have a fever or cough should self-exclude and may be excluded by the show or trial committee if they do not. Those with underlying health conditions should consider refraining from attending. In short, assume someone you will encounter at the event has COVID-19 and protect yourself accordingly. Many with it are at least initially asymptomatic.
As of April 14, 2020, around 22,000 people in the United States are known to have died from Coronavirus-related illnesses and more than a half million have been diagnosed with the disease. The number is not higher because Americans like you have avoided non-essential public gatherings.
We applaud our members’ enthusiasm for resuming ASCA-related events but must balance that with the priority of protecting your health. Affiliates also will want to weigh liability issues in evaluating whether some might consider it negligent to hold an event under the conditions going on at a particular geographic location.
We wish you all health and safety during these difficult times and look forward to the day we can resume full operations and put this pandemic behind us. As everyone from White House medical advisors to mayors have indicated, the resumption of normal life and events is likely to take place on a gradual basis rather than on a single day. Until then your patience will be one form of showing patriotism and of demonstrating concern for the well-being of other members of the ASCA family.
Take care, and stay safe,
Executive Secretary, Australian Shepherd Club of America
6091 E. State Hwy 21, Bryan, TX 77808 | (979) 778-1082