Delegates make use of a coffee break to check emails and make phone calls outside the Banff Springs Hotel during the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta. on Thursday, September 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

Global Business Forum conference in Banff goes ahead with COVID-19 adjustments

Lois Mitchell says there’s no intent to ever duplicate the format in future years

An organizer of the 21st annual Global Business Forum in Banff on Thursday says she’s proud of the work her committee has done to present a “hybrid” event this year where half of the attendees will be in the room and the rest taking part online.

But vice-chairwoman Lois Mitchell says there’s no intent to ever duplicate the format in future years, noting the reason the annual event was created was to bring influential people from around the world to meet face-to-face with Alberta business leaders among the majestic Rocky Mountains in the historic Banff Springs Hotel.

The invitation-only event is expected to have the same number of attendees as in previous years, about 180, but only 90 are allowed in the conference centre ballroom under hotel restrictions designed to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Mitchell, who recently completed a term as Alberta’s lieutenant-governor, says the rest of the guests will be able to watch the speeches and take part in question-and-answer sessions through an online live streaming of the event.

Guests attending in person will have to wear masks unless seated and will have their temperatures taken before entering the conference centre. Only three people will sit at each large table to allow social distancing.

Most of the 25 presenters have been unable to travel to Banff from their offices in places like San Francisco, New York, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Mumbai, and will be giving their presentations over the internet.

“I’m a huge believer in people having to interact with people and it’s hard to do that when you wear masks or you’re online. It’s not the same kind of communication,” said Mitchell.

“Everything is built on seeing people, talking to them, watching their non-verbals, so no, it isn’t something we’ll ever want to do again. We’re doing it because we feel like it’s the right thing to do and we want to show people it can be done.”

She said it’s been difficult but necessary to turn away many people who have faithfully attended the conference for years, adding those who can come are “excited” to attend an event after months of avoiding human contact.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

From l-r., first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden on stage at the conclusion of the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump, Biden fight over the raging virus, climate and race

Republican president declared the virus, which killed more than 1,000 Americans on Thursday alone, will “go away.”

JJ Collett Natural Area Foundation held its AGM on Oct. 19 at the Ponoka Legion. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
De-listing Alberta parks creates ‘risk’ for coal mining: CPAWS

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society speaks at JJ Collett AGM

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Most Read