2020 Mackinac Policy Conference Canceled Due To Coronavirus

WWJ News
June 09, 2020 - 12:08 pm

    (WWJ) There will be no schmoozing on the porch of the Grand Hotel this year. 

    The Detroit Regional Chamber's 2020 Mackinac Policy Conference, which had already been pushed until August 10 because of the coronavirus, has been officially canceled for this year. 

    The annual event usually involves more than 1,000 Michigan business, community and political leaders talking about policy on Mackinac Island. 

    In making the announcement, Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said instead of gathering on the island, the Chamber will premiere a new digital series that will include discussions among state and national leaders representing business, media, philanthropy and government. The focus will be on Michigan’s COVID-19 response, economic recovery, racial injustice and achieving equity, and the 2020 election.

    It was decided, he said, that gathering in person was just not a good idea under the circumstances.

    “First and foremost, our priority in planning during this pandemic is the health and safety of our members, guests, and staff,” said Baruah, who announced that the group's Leadership Detroit program and gatherings and member events will be suspended until 2021. 

    “It has become clear that ‘social distancing’ will be with us for a while and if there’s one thing the Mackinac Policy Conference, Leadership Detroit, and many of our events have never been and could never be, it’s socially distant,” said Baruah. “We are exploring other digital formats to curate conversation and drive action around the crucial immediate and longer-term issues that will drive our region and state’s prosperity. Just like everybody else, we will find new ways to execute our traditional role.”

    Since March, the Chamber has been helping businesses navigate the unchartered territory of the pandemic through its COVID-19 Business Restart Center, Tele-Town Hall Series and Michigan Restart initiative. For more information, visit www.detroitchamber.com. 

    Meanwhile, Mackinac Island itself is slowly opening for the season. Both ferry lines are once again carrying passengers back and forth, and many shops and restaurants on the island are expected to by open for guests by next weekend.