When COVID-19 first began to really take hold in the UK, back in early 2020, the QED team had a long conversation about whether our planned event in October 2020 could go ahead. We came to a conclusion we hoped was overly cautious: that QED would have to be postponed, initially for a year. It was reasonable, we thought, that the world would be in a much better place by October 2021.
In April 2021 we took stock again, weighing up whether we felt we were six months away from being able to run a conference of more than 700 people at an indoor venue without undue risk to staff, attendees or speakers. We were left with no choice but to push our event back to February 2022. As plans roll out for how to cope with a potential winter wave of Covid, we feel our decision not to go ahead with the event this October was sensible.
Unfortunately, we find ourselves once more at the point where a decision needs to be made, with February 2022 rapidly approaching. We have watched the latest figures in Covid cases slowly rise over the last few months, and have listened closely as experts explain the risks for the coming winter. It is with a heavy heart that we have decided we have little choice but to postpone QED 2020 (!) even further, with a new date of October 28th-30th, 2022.
This isn't a decision we take lightly, nor one we wanted to take. However, as public health experts offer their views on the potential effect of a winter wave, and as authorities lay out precautionary plans to reinforce Covid security measures should they be required, we feel this is the most sensible option.
It may be the case that, even if winter sees a stark rise in cases, by February things may have improved again. In the meantime, we would have to spend those uncertain months making concrete plans, selling tickets and incurring non-refundable expenses in the hope that our event could go ahead. As a grassroots, non-profit, volunteer-run conference, we can't afford to gamble the long-term viability of QED without a clearer view that a February date would be both feasible and responsible.
We appreciate our attendees will be disappointed to hear this, but we can promise you we are every bit as disappointed as you are. We run QED because we love being able to provide a positive, safe, and welcoming space for our community to meet. And we recognise we are all way overdue a big party. We simply can't afford to risk the future of QED, nor the wellbeing of our attendees, without greater confidence that we're doing the right thing.
So, we sincerely hope everyone will understand our decision to defer further, and will ink the dates of October 28th-30th into their diary, and then cross their fingers that there are no more Greek-lettered variants around the corner to throw into further disarray plans for our long-overdue get-together.
We hope to see you all in Manchester in October 2022.