Check before you go
ACBL Headquarters Staff Goes Remote Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, March 24
As more cities across the nation establish safe-at-home orders, including Memphis, TN and the other municipalities surrounding Horn Lake, MS, ACBL headquarters staff will be working from home, beginning Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and the headquarters building will be closed.
“The safety and well-being of our employees and members is of utmost importance, and we must comply with government regulations,” says Joseph Jones, executive director of ACBL. “Our IT team has worked tirelessly over the last week to ensure all headquarters staff will have the ability to work remotely, and I am pleased that we were able to provide our employees this option.”
Calls will be forwarded to employees at their home. However, email is the best way to connect with different departments at this time. A list of department email addresses follows:
|Tournaments and Bridge Operationsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
ACBL COVID-19 Update, March 20, 2020
We want to keep you informed with updates as the unique circumstances of COVID-19 continue. Incidents of exposure (and positive test results) by bridge players and ACBL staff have been reported directly to the ACBL as well as in local media.
We understand your concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19. After talking with several health departments, we can provide following information to you:
- The ACBL will not release private health information of our members, including the names of members who have tested positive for the virus. However, members may publicly self-identify and, if that happens, their name can be further discussed publicly. Your club or District/Unit officials may send you notifications naming specific individuals if the person has identified themselves and provided written authorization to the club or District/Unit official. Otherwise, they may send you a general notice that a person who tested positive played at the same event as you did.
- If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control by contacting your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Regarding practicing social distancing, many clubs have already closed, or are planning to close, at least through May 11 as the ACBL has requested. In support of local clubs, a daily online “Support Your Club ACBL Black Point Game” beginning at each of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (Eastern) was created on Bridge Base Online (BBO).
We rolled out the “Support Your Club” game yesterday at 5:00 p.m., and it was a huge success. Winners can earn black masterpoints® in this game, and a majority of the entry fees will be given back to your club. Check our website for more information and Frequently Asked Questions about that game and using BBO.
The “Support Your Club” daily online game currently has limited capacity, but we plan to add more games to the schedule (depending on BBO capacity). In partnership with BBO and The Common Game, we are also working to implement similar online bridge-playing opportunities as soon as we are able, including a way for you to play in games limited to your local club members. Please be patient as we ramp up these efforts.
Remember to listen to what the CDC and your local health authorities are recommending and err on the side of safety. We will get through this together.
March 20, 2020
ACBL COVID-19 Update, March 16
Thank you for being a part of our bridge-loving family. Like you, we have concerns about COVID-19, and we are actively examining measures to efficiently navigate this pandemic.
We will continue to communicate with members as the situation progresses and we receive more information. Please anticipate updated messaging by week’s end.
Here is the most up-to-date information we have:
- In an effort to ensure the health and safety of members in various locations across North America, we encourage all club games as well as all tournaments currently scheduled through May 25, 2020 be cancelled or postponed. This date may be changed as more information becomes available. Currently, it is the discretion of individual clubs, Units and Districts to determine closings of clubs or cancellations/postponement of tournaments in their specific location. Please see our Check Before You Go page to find contact information for your local club or information related to the cancellation/postponement of tournaments.
- We are currently looking into options for online club play. Along with Bridge Base Online (BBO) and The Common Game, ACBL is working on developing ways for you to play online while earning black points and benefitting your club. Club owners/managers will be notified as development progresses. This initiative is in the early development stage and we will keep you updated as more information is made available.
- Exploration of “replacement” Spring NABC events, including North American Pairs (NAP), is ongoing. We are working with BBO on developing online events and will release details as soon as possible.
- In the meantime, here are some options to play for masterpoints online while we work on specialized online avenues.
- We are communicating with club, Unit and District leadership. Please be on the lookout for updates about games, health advisories and more directly from your local club, Unit and/or District.
For your safety, we urge you to follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and consider self-quarantining, if necessary. Remember, if you or a family member are sick or feeling sick, stay home. We care about the health of our players, their friends and family as well as the community at large.
The bridge community is a strong one, and we will get through this together.
Thank you, ACBL Management March 16, 2020
March 12 — ACBL Spring NABC is Canceled
After careful review of the order issued by local health and governmental authorities in Ohio banning mass gatherings of more than 100 people, the ACBL must cancel its upcoming Spring North American Bridge Championships in Columbus, OH.
“We are saddened to cancel the Spring NABC and feel sympathy for the local tournament committee which has worked for several years to create a special welcome and memorable bridge experience,” said ACBL Executive Director Joseph Jones, “but we must comply with governmental regulations.”
There is no fee for canceling reservations at the Columbus host hotels. Any deposits forfeited as a result of ACBL’s Hotel Reservation Cancellation Policy will be released. Whether you have previously cancelled your reservation or not, if you made the reservation through our housing partner, ConferenceDirect LLC, deposit monies will be refunded automatically within 14 to 21 days. If you made a reservation directly with the hotel after February 27, 2020, the hotel will cancel the reservation. There is no need to contact ConferenceDirect or the hotel.
There are currently no plans to reschedule the Columbus NABC for later in 2020, although Columbus may be considered as a possible location in the future. As of today, the Summer NABC in Montréal will be held as usual along with the Fall NABC in Tampa.
March 12, 2020
Ohio Governor’s Press Conference, March 11
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a press conference at 2 p.m. (EDT) on March 11 during which he announced that Dr. Amy Acton, Director of Health, will sign an order within the next 24 to 36 hours regarding mass gatherings in Ohio. According to the Governor, “[e]very expert has told us that there is a risk in any kind of mass gathering, the bigger the gathering the more the risk, the closer you are to other people, the bigger the risk…” We will provide further updates via email, social media and the ACBL website (acbl.org/nabc) after that order has been issued.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update from ACBL, March 10
You have concerns and questions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to spread, and so do we. Like you, we are actively monitoring official information sources about COVID-19. We value the health and wellbeing of our players.
You are the best judge of what’s best for you, and we encourage you to make an informed decision whether to play bridge at the club or attend a tournament. We understand that the Centers for Disease Control has identified factors that may influence your decision, which might include local and/or destination outbreak conditions, your age and general health, and the health and age of your family. According to health care professionals, those with chronic diseases and compromised immune systems, the elderly and health care workers are most at risk. We trust that you will exercise your own judgment regarding participation.
Guidance for Attending a Club or Tournament
- Wash your hands frequently and industriously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue (or using your upper sleeve), not your hands. Dispose of tissues promptly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and face.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing.
- If you’re sick or not feeling well, or someone in your household is sick or not feeling well, stay home. This is especially critical given the overall vulnerability of our bridge-playing community.
- If you’re not comfortable playing cards in a confined environment, don’t.
- If you plan to attend a tournament, make sure in advance that the tournament is still being held. You can also check tournament and club information here.
- If you become ill, follow the directions of your local health authorities.
- Calling in advance will allow your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
- Have your health insurance information readily available in case you need hospitalization or treatment.
Many facets of life in North America are going to be affected over the next few months as exact locations of serious outbreaks of the novel coronavirus shift and governmental policies evolve. Any strategy by the ACBL to attempt to shut down all clubs and/or tournaments at once over the entire continent would not be nearly as effective as that exercised in other countries, even if such action an action was legally possible under our regulations. Clubs and Tournament Sponsors will make their own decisions about scheduling or cancelling public events.
Regarding the Columbus NABC
As of March 10, the Spring North American Bridge Championships in Columbus OH, March 19-29, are NOT cancelled. However, this decision is subject to change at any time.
We understand that there will be attendees from foreign countries and North America. Please go to travelmaps.state.gov/TSGMap to check travel restrictions to or within the United States.
In our decision to hold this NABC, we will, of course, take all the precautions recommended by health experts to prevent the spread of this virus. For updated information about the Spring NABC, please go to acbl.org/columbus. We will be in touch immediately if anything changes. For now, our plans include the following:
- A “handshake-free” meeting where we will practice social distancing.
- Hand sanitation sites will be available in public areas, providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer for all attendees and staff (and we will be distributing personal-sized bottles of hand sanitizer).
- Disposable, disinfectant wipes will be provided so commonly used surfaces can be routinely wiped down by staff.
- Signage will be predominately placed to remind attendees of safe practices.
- The Greater Columbus Convention Center (as well as the Hyatt and Hilton hotels) have put in place enhanced cleaning protocols.
For additional up-to-date information, visit:
CDC Novel Coronavirus: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
CDC Travel Guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
March 4 – Your ACBL Member Update is here – Stop the spread of germs
As cold and flu season continues, remember to practice good hygiene. Washing your hands thoroughly or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer will go a long way, and if you’re sick, you should
stay home to protect others. You can see more useful information at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
We are monitoring the situation for the Columbus NABC and will be providing free hand sanitizer there. For details, see our notice online.
March 2 – Columbus NABC Health Update
The coronavirus has added an uncertain new dimension to this cold and flu season. To help create as healthy an environment as possible, everyone should follow good hygiene practices, including these suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. This is the most effective way to protect yourself from any illness, including the coronavirus. Use soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
- Maintain social distance – particularly with those who appear to be sick – by avoiding shaking hands, hugging or kissing when greeting friends (an “elbow bump” is a great alternative).
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home when you are sick and seek medical attention as early as possible.
Going into the Spring North American Bridge Championships in Columbus, our first priority is the health and safety of our members and employees. We are closely monitoring updates and recommendations from the government and health authorities, and we expect all participants to respect their local governments’ travel advisories.
Some of the steps we are taking to prepare for the NABC include:
- Providing hand sanitizer stations throughout the playing area
- Distributing personal hand sanitizer bottles
- Spreading awareness of best defense methods through notices, both in the Daily Bulletin and around the playing area
The ACBL Team
March 2, 2020