The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce conference later this month will require attendees to be vaccinated and offer them interaction “comfort level” wristbands to wear.
The Chamber event, which will take place September 20-23 on Mackinac Island, will also require masking in certain areas, despite the vaccination mandate.
“The conference is on. The chamber has been proceeding for months now. … We have not ever considered canceling it,” chamber president and CEO Sandy Baruah told the Detroit News. “But we have been focused on ensuring that we are employing all the right protocols to keep Michigan’s leadership safe.”
The intent of the wristbands, Baruah said, is to signal what an attendee’s “comfort level is with human contact.”
“If you’re wearing a green band, that means, ‘Hey, I’m open to shaking hands or giving you a hug,'” Baruah told the paper. “A yellow band will mean, ‘You can give me a chicken wing, an elbow bump, a fist bump or something like that.’ Red means, ‘Hey, thrilled to see you but I am going to stay away.'”
In order to comply with the conference’s vaccine mandate, attendees must download an app and input their complete vaccination details. When arriving at the event, everyone must show the “pass” provided through the app.
Furthermore, the organization has lowered the attendance level to only allow approximately 1,300 people. Additionally, during the conference, some events will be held outdoors.
However, the group did not rule out enacting additional measures, despite the vaccine mandate and mask mandate in some areas.
“Given the rise of the Delta variant and increasing COVID-19 case counts across the country and in our state, additional protocols may be necessary to ensure safety,” the group said in a statement.
The event will feature keynote speeches by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D), as well as a panel discussion on “the future of the Republican Party.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has declined to attend the conference, citing “COVID risks,” according to Crain’s Detroit.
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) also will not attend due to the vaccination requirement, Mlive reported.
“It appears the Chamber cowed to political science rather than embrace actual science,” Shirkey said after the mandate announcement.
“I am extremely disappointed that the Detroit Regional Chamber declined to look honestly at the benefits of both naturally acquired and vaccinated immunity and, instead, opted to rely on an invasive vaccine mandate while dismissing the scientifically proven robustness of naturally acquired immunity,” Shirkey said.
The conference theme is “Re-imagining a Healthy Michigan.”
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