Conducting Cat Shows During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Cat Talk|June 2021
It was just over a year ago that we were all enjoying our hobby of showing cats. Some traveled extensively seeking high titles, and some just supported local shows. In all cases, there was social interaction with everyone, and we generally did not worry about spreading infections.
Dennis Ganoe

Then COVID-19 happened and the world changed. We went into lock-down most everywhere, and shows were summarily canceled. We began social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread of this particular virus.

Recently, as the vaccines for this virus are being adopted, cat shows are starting to return.

Their return brings with it a host of additional procedures for clubs, judges, and exhibitors. While shows were just starting to return, several pioneering clubs undertook their own precautions based on local conditions and prevalent regulations and recommendations.

Cotton States Cat Club in Georgia last November was the first live US show since COVID-19 shut them down last March. They did a remarkable job and set a high bar of keeping people safe. The next US shows were Frontier Feline Fanciers in Kansas and Cat Club of the Palm Beaches in Florida. The Houston Cat Club followed with a show held in Texas in January. Star City/ Central Carolina Cat Fanciers in Virginia was the fifth US club to put on a show in the COVID-19 era in the US. Meanwhile, as of this writing, there have been 18 CFA shows overseas, held in China, Japan, Asia, and Europe.

At the Houston Cat Club, in the pre-function area (outside of the show hall), there was a long cordoned-offline with 15 six-foot arrows for social distancing. COVID-19 waiver forms were set up all along the line, with tables and pens, a few participants had brought their CFA waiver form already filled out.

There were four tables for the check-in area that were spread out a bit. The first table was for COVID-19 forms and taking temperatures, with a six-foot arrow on the floor (at least 10 arrows before that). The next table was where color-of-the-day wristbands were given out, with another COVID-19 spacing arrow on the floor. Then there were two tables of alphabetical catalogs spread out, with each table having its own COVID-19 floor arrow.

NO ONE was allowed in the show hall without providing a filled-out COVID-19 form, having their temperature taken, and putting on the color-of-the-day wristband. That includes show management and judges. Check-in started by 7:00 a.m. in order to spread people out. No one was allowed at setup without having their temperature taken and mask on! Both the entrance-only and exit-only doors were well marked and blocked off with stanchions—crowd control posts and barriers!

On Sunday, the same line and check-in was in place, but there was a different color wristband and second COVID-19 form! Club members made sure exhibitors could not bypass the check-in area and enter the show hall. Lots of people tried to go around throughout the day, so staffing was very important!

Lessons learned from the Houston experience included finding that the check-in process needed several new steps.

• Social-distanced line, with six-foot arrows and roped off

• Earlier check-in time to reduce congestion at the door

• No pay at the door for entries

• COVID-19 waiver stations along the way to fill out the form on Saturday

• Temperatures taken

• Color-of-the-day wristbands

• Enter- and exit-only doors

• Someone to stay at the door at all times. Gate and friends will try to enter

• Signs indicating the event was NOT open to the public

Houston also included post-show tracing. This isn’t necessarily required but is a very good idea. Two weeks after the show, it was reported that no one had COVID-19 symptoms!

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