Health and safety concerns amidst pandemic cancels Heart of America Orlando 2020
The Heart of America season was set to conclude in Orlando in mid-March. With the assistance of information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Heart of America cancelled the event. Producer, Chad Alexander sent the following correspondence to attendees.
Update as of March 17, 2020
HOA will be refunding the entire cost of your trip minus the original $2,000 deposit. We are grateful for the trust and loyalty so many of you have placed in us and we, like you, are devastated to not be able to give your students a chance to shine on a national level stage. However, if you are interested in traveling to any one of our four 2021 destinations, we will apply the $2,000 deposit toward that trip once registered. It’s one more way to show you how much we sympathize and understand the challenges this has put on you and your program. When this all passes, hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel can be that you announce to your group you ARE going to get to take that trip to HOA in 2021!
As a valued member of our HOA and MTC family, we appreciate your loyalty and the trust you place in us as an event producer & travel partner. Recognizing the ongoing and increased uncertainty that coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing around the world, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our guests and employees. With that in mind, we wanted to update you on the official status of HOA Orlando.
First off, we want to extend our condolences as we know how frustrated and heartbroken many of your students, staff and parents, and even you yourself may be that these trips are being cancelled by your city or state governing bodies. We are heartbroken too. Heartbroken to not be able to provide this “highlight” of your students’ year, as we understand the massive effort it is to rehearse, fundraise, plan, and prepare for events such as these. That said, the health and welfare of your students, the show choir community, and frankly the country at large has to take a front seat in these unusual and unique times. While we would love nothing more than to welcome you and your students to Orlando and Disney, we understand that now is the time to take precaution and help protect so many in our families and communities. It is simply not the time to increase risk by each of you traveling from a variety of states and communities to one location potentially increasing the likelihood of spreading the virus.
As you know, the Hilton Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs was our host hotel and from what we currently understand from Hilton CEO, Chris Nessetta, Hilton will be dropping all cancellation policies and fees under the unprecedented and unique circumstances the country (and world) is facing. We anticipate getting a full refund for your hotel nights but will update you as the situation continues to unfold. What we do ask is your patience as everyone across the board is processing and responding to this in a day-to-day hour-to-hour scenario. It may take a little time for all the ink to dry and for refunds to be issued but we do believe they are coming.
Moreover, we value you. We value your support, your friendship, your students and programs, and because one of our core values has always been to “do the right thing” we also hope to be able to refund most, if not all, of your trip back to you. Again, as we continue to work with all parties and vendors we ask for your patience. We will update everyone with exact refund amounts and policies once we know the specifics, but are hopeful you will see and feel the philosophy we adopted this year as we, “SHARE THE LOVE.”
Lastly, we sincerely hope that you, your students and your communities will feel very little direct effect from the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you will all continue to be healthy and that this passes quickly so that life can return to normal. Our hope is that come next year, whether you join us at one of our events or travel elsewhere, your season is uninterrupted and that you can once again share the gift of music with audiences around the country. Be safe. We hope to see you in 2021.