January 29, 2021
Dear DRI Leader:
A year ago, none of us would have imagined that we would still be in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an extremely difficult time for all of us, and DRI remains dedicated to finding ways to best serve and protect our members, especially when it comes to in-person meetings.
As the health crisis continues, our staff has been working diligently to monitor all available guidelines on COVID precautions and mandates. Unfortunately, there are no consistent guidelines for how to proceed with hosting in-person activities and our members have varying views on a willingness to meet face to face. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") states, "Because COVID-19 virus circulation varies in communities, [CDC] considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply."
DRI’s top priority is member safety, yet we understand and respect that the decision to attend in-person programming is a deeply personal, and ever evolving one.
As a result, in an effort to avoid making arbitrary decisions, the DRI Executive Committee, Law Institute, and staff determined the best course of action is to follow state and local guidelines. Additionally, we are hopeful that we will be able to conduct in-person events and that for any such events, DRI will attempt to further limit attendance in accordance with CDC considerations, even if the particular venue could support larger attendance given state and local guidelines.
Our plan is that a final decision about whether an in-person event should take place will be made no later than 60 days prior to an event, taking into account all of the relevant considerations, and in consultation with DRI members the DRI Executive Committee, the Law Institute Chair and Vice-Chair, the Executive Committee Law Institute Liaison, and myself.
As always, we greatly appreciate you and all that you do for DRI, and we are hopeful to be able to have the opportunity to meet again when you are comfortable doing so. For those of you who may be prohibited or personally unable to participate in an upcoming in- person event, we fully respect that decision and will take necessary steps to address any support needs that may arise.
DRI will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as we learn more.
Thank you all for your support in these uncertain times. We truly appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation.
Dean MartinezDean Martinez