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To our valued Wildlife Acoustics network, on March 11th we decided to do what's right for public health and halt all travel for the time being. In the meantime, we will be finding innovative digital ways to connect with our community — so stay tuned for forthcoming opportunities.
As a business owner, this was not a slam dunk decision. We don't want to overreact, nor do we want to get this wrong. About 60% of our business is international and we typically attend 50+ conferences around the globe each year. As I write this, I have one staff member flying home from New Zealand, another returning from a domestic trip, and others scheduled for various events in Germany, England, France and Canada.
I also understand that, at this point, containment is a pipe dream. It seems a statistical certainty that most of us will be exposed to the virus. So, if you can't stop it, why not go on with business as usual?
Well, there's a good reason. As has been posted in other outlets, the most compelling thing I've seen is the graph with two bell-curves showing the impact the speed of infection can have on our healthcare infrastructure. If infections happen quickly, as they did in other parts of the world, the surge of serious cases can overwhelm emergency rooms and hospitals to the point that lives are at risk from unrelated medical emergencies, like trauma, accidents, cancers, diabetes and everything else. But if we enact protective measures now, we can help to stave off the worst of this event.
Many lives can be saved by slowing down the rate of infection, even if we all end up getting exposed anyway. It came down to a moral decision. The right thing for us to do as a business is to do everything we can to help slow down the virus. Which is why I decided to suspend our travel activities while we continue to monitor the situation.
As we and others take similarly prudent steps, there will no doubt be significant economic impacts as conferences are postponed, flights are cancelled, and travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines are imposed. Our hope is through leadership and creativity, we can find new ways to engage with our customers. And maybe we'll come out ahead.
If you have any questions, please reach out to our team.
We look forward to seeing you all again, soon.