The American Kennel Club’s commitment to dog show participant safety during the COVID-19 pandemic received high marks from Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) leadership.
“In December, the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin hosted nearly 6,000 attendees across nearly 1 million square feet of exhibit space in the North-South Building. I saw firsthand how the staggered attendance, proper social distancing through signage, floor stickers, and safety protocols were implemented to create a safe and controlled gathering,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester.
Show, Shop, and Leave was the theme of the 2020 AKC National Championship, held on December 11-13, 2020 in conjunction with the AKC National Obedience Championship, AKC Rally National Championship, AKC Agility Invitational, AKC Fast CAT Invitational, and other competitions planned and presented with safety foremost in mind. Among other requirements, participants signed health disclosure forms and received daily temperature checks as conditions of admittance.
“The ANC was cited by OCCC officials as one of their most successful and safest events since the pandemic started,” said Sheila Goffe, Vice President, AKC Government Relations. “By working with public officials and venue staff to comply with requirements, implementing AKC’s recommended safety measures, and following Centers for Disease Control tips, AKC clubs can continue to explore safe opportunities to hold events in this challenging time,” Goffe said.
A joint message issued by the AKC Board of Directors and AKC Staff encourages each of AKC’s 5,000 clubs to adhere to federal, state, and local restrictions pertaining to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. As states gradually begin to reopen, clubs are strongly urged to follow every regulation for large gatherings.
The AKC Sports and Events Department has developed “Suggested Best Practices for the Well-Being of Dog Sport Participants” that include event-specific guidelines for more than 20 of the dog sports AKC sanctions/recognizes.