Today, 4/27/20, Governor Murphy laid out his "road map" to restart NJ's economy and re-open the state. As no timetable was given, this is merely an aspirational prospect at best. Due to the sustained rate of deaths and hospitalizations, as well as the lag in wide spread testing, he acknowledged that he does not know when the state can begin the opening process.
There's a lot that needs to happen to re-opening the state, from a trend of at least two weeks of decreased positive tests and hospitalizations, to a robust contact tracing program. Once it does begin, and again there is no timetable for this, it will be a gradual process, much like the closing of the state was. Expect incremental increases in the limit of attendees at gatherings, to a systematic re-opening of businesses based on necessity and how essential they are - it will all be baby steps and take time.
How will this affect our car show season? Although we wrote a long blog post a few weeks ago on this topic, many things have changed. The next time the Governor is expected to make an announcement on a possible timetable to re-open will be around May 15th. Based on what we've seen and what we know now, here are our thoughts:
COUNT MAY OUT and JUNE PROBABLY THE SAME. As we have all figured out, May is already toast. Even if NJ starts to re-open, we feel it simply won't be enough in June to hold any meaningful events. We are, however, going to wait until around May 15-20th to see what the Governor has to say before making any announcements regarding some of our events, we would urge everyone to do the same.
JULY DOESN'T LOOK PROMISING. Sorry to be thinking this way, but consider this - it took March, April, and May - 3 months as of the writing of this post - to close the state down. At the very LEAST it will take 3-4 months to re-open. July falls within that period. Again, I'd urge you to wait to re-schedule anything until at least mid-June to be sure.
AUGUST? POSSIBLY, BUT NOT UNTIL LATER IN THE MONTH. Going back to that 3-month-ish time frame to get things moving again, you could be safe if you have an event scheduled after the 15th, but if you have one in early August its a crap shoot at best. Keep in mind I am writing this in April, so don't cancel anything today - wait until July please and let's be sure.
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER-NOVEMBER ARE OUR BEST CHANCES FOR THE NEW NORMAL. If you have an event scheduled in September and beyond, I think you have a good chance of it taking place, but with some "new normal" rules in place.
WHAT IS THE NEW NORMAL? I do believe that anyone who plans to hold an event this year, and who knows maybe next year too, will need to abide by these rules of the new normal. Plan on people wearing face masks and needing to continue social distancing. This also means parking show vehicles further apart, so you will need to account for that in your parking plans. Lines for food and vendors will need to keep 6ft distance as well. And let's remember this when it comes time to handle registration, sell 50/50's, hand out awards, and judge vehicles as well. It basically affects everything we do.
That's all we have for now. This is not mean to scare anyone, just provide our assessment (aka opinion) of the situation. We know there have been some car meets broken up, and everyone we see online is just like us with a case of cabin fever itching to get to a car show. We'll get there, sooner than later, if everyone works together and follows the rules. I want nothing more than to be wrong and have a car show next week!