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Managing club operations during the COVID-19 crisis

New NCA Publication

The National Club Association’s (NCA) Blueprint for Reopening Private Clubs provides private clubs with direction and guidance to safely reopen. This is a compilation of shared resources across numerous industries, organizations and agencies that NCA has collected and disseminated through our Coronavirus Resource Center. The Blueprint provides a collection of the best resources in one document organized by club departments, facilities, programs and operations categories.

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The coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly, and we expect to update this page frequently with new information and resources as they become available. In addition to regular health and safety updates, we will provide tailored information specifically for the private club community.

Through shared resources from the hospitality industry and public health organizations, we hope to provide information and best practices to keep your clubs and members safe. NCA has compiled a Club Coronavirus Preparedness Primer with industry-specific information, sample communications, guidelines, best practices and links to important resources, covering housekeeping and facility sanitation, anti-epidemic member interactions and club staff.

Learn more about Strategic Disaster Planning & Preparedness.


Clubs are facing challenging times as they navigate the day-to-day operations while facing the COVID-19 crisis. From closed operations, increased absenteeism, flexible work schedules, cancelled events, NCA is working to provide club leaders with resources they need to operate during this unprecedented time.


Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers are for informational purposes and not for the purposes of providing legal advice. Viewers should not rely upon the information shared as legal advice.

The coronavirus has had staggering impacts on conferences and other public events across a variety of industries and throughout many countries. As the cancellations amass, here is a list of key considerations and implications raised. Each issue should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The following lists some general inquiries to guide companies in decision-making and risk mitigation. Assess Rights Under The Contract(s). Trade associations, conference organizers and sponsors are examining their rights under the applicable contract to determine whether they can successfully cancel without penalty pursuant to a contractual force majeure provision or other cancellation right.

1. Consider Postponement and Related Rights. Some contracts may allow for postponement, which is an option many organizers are considering. Under some contracts, outright cancellation may result in penalties, lost deposits and other losses. Many organizers are choosing to delay events in the hopes that the situation improves in several weeks or months.

2. Policy for Refunds to Attendees. Trade associations, conference organizers and event patrons should consider what the particular refund policy is for the event. Organizers also need to consider how they will disseminate and publicize any information regarding a cancellation, postponement and/or refund right. In addition to any press release or social media posts, the mode of communication to patrons and sponsors should be consistent with the terms applicable to the issuance of the ticket or registration.

3. Policy for Refunds to Sponsors. Organizers and sponsors should examine their contracts and understand their contractual rights. A number of organizers are offering to defer sponsorship to the following year’s annual conference to ensure good will among sponsors and future support for the event.

4. Consultation with Epidemiologist to Assess Risk. Organizers are hiring licensed epidemiologists and other third-party specialists to analyze specific risks based on the location, attendee list, date, and other specifics of their particular conference or event.

5. Business Interruption Insurance. Organizers should closely examine any applicable business interruption insurance policies. Coverage exclusions must be considered in the analysis and organizers should strictly adhere to the policy’s notice requirements.

6. If the show must go on . . .

Waivers for Attendees. For organizers that decide to proceed with events and conferences as planned, requiring waivers from attendees may mitigate the risk of future potential negligence claims. Companies may require waivers from attendees recognizing the risk of attending the public event and potential exposure to any virus.

7. Affirmative Acknowledgements for Attendees. Organizers also may require attendees to affirmatively acknowledge that they have not knowingly been expose to, traveled to suspect areas, or otherwise exhibit symptoms or have family members that exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus.

8. Extra Health Precautions. A number of conferences and trade shows have implemented additional health precautions such as handwashing stations, sanitizers, recommendations that attendees refrain from handshakes or other contact when greeting one another, etc. Epidemiologists and other healthcare professionals have additional recommendations regarding layout and protections that can be employed to minimize the risk of virus spread.

9. Other Insurance. Trade associations and other organizers should review their general insurance policies to determine coverage in the event that a participant becomes sick and tries to pursue damages under a negligence or other legal theory. Coverage exclusions also should be considered in the analysis. From Foley & Lardner LLP

Review Contracts to Determine What “Force Majeure” and Termination Rights and Requirements May Apply. Force majeure refers to a legal doctrine under which a party may be relieved from liability for non-performance if circumstances beyond the party’s control prevent the party from fulfilling its obligations under a contract. Force majeure provisions can vary greatly depending on how they were drafted, but they usually cover several categories of events that could impact suppliers and customers, especially events, conventions, or other group contracts. While most force majeure provisions are unlikely to list disease, epidemics or quarantine specifically, many include general provisions covering such things as natural disasters, “acts of God,” acts of government or “other circumstances beyond the parties’ control.” The coronavirus outbreak presents a somewhat unique situation in that it includes both a naturally occurring component (the virus itself) and a government action component (including the quarantines and other measures put in place in response to the outbreak). Companies should carefully review the force majeure provisions in their contracts to determine whether they apply. Parties seeking to invoke the force majeure provisions in contracts usually must show that there are no alternative means for performing under the contract, as increased costs alone often will not be sufficient to prevail on a claim of force majeure. Companies should also understand who will be arbiter of disputes (e.g., judge, jury, expert, or arbitrator) as the expenses and time delays associated with resolving a dispute among the parties will enter into the equation of determining the best resolution. For more information on force majeure clause analysis, please click here. From Foley & Lardner LLP