Over the past few days, we have been closely following the potential impact of the global COVID-19 outbreak on Borders/Bridges, the AES/APLA joint spring conference in Austin, Texas. Several of those registered for the conference have informed us that they will be unable to attend due to travel recommendations issued by their universities, and many more have expressed concerns about the possibility of increased health risks associated with air travel.
After careful consideration, the boards of both AES and APLA have decided that the best course of action is to cancel this year’s conference. Although no cases of novel coronavirus have been detected in Austin so far, we think that canceling the conference is the responsible thing to do, given the increasing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.
Refund Information from AAA:
Registration: All attendees will be automatically refunded the full cost of their conference registration fees. The AAA will begin processing refunds this week and asks for your patience as they work through the long list of more than 200 attendees. They will have all refunds processed no later than April 1.
Hotel Reservations: If you secured your hotel accommodations through the ARES booking link provided on the AES/APLA conference website, it is important to reference your confirmation email that you received after booking for the most appropriate way to obtain a refund for your reservation. Since ARES is a booking agent over many different hotels and room and rate types, the procedure for requesting your refund will vary depending on the property and rate type you selected. ARES is doing their best amid the COVID-19 outbreak to try to reduce their fees wherever possible. For more information and assistance, or to request a copy of your confirmation email and instructions for how to obtain a refund, contact ARES Travel at 1-800-434-7894.
Proof of Cancellation: We understand that many of you may need an official letter or statement from the AAA confirming the cancellation of the conference in order to obtain refunds from airlines or other travel services, or to provide to your institutions. The AAA has made that official letter available on our website here, for you to download at your convenience.
Should you have any further questions for the AES/APLA organizers about the conference, please reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions regarding refunds, please reach out to the AAA Meetings team at email@example.com.
We sincerely regret this turn of events, but at the same time we feel compelled to act in a way that promotes public health and safety.
AES/APLA 2020 Joint Conference Planning Committee