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

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin cases rapidly climbing

City of Wetaskiwin reporting 11 active cases of COVID-19

Photo submitted/ Rita-anne Fuss
Distancing Diamond Project in Millet for mental health

Distancing Diamonds allow for social distancing community gathering.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s official Opposition, speaks in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Notley says the government needs to sharply ramp up the number of contact tracers if it wants to get a handle on the rising number of COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Opposition calls for more COVID-19 contact tracers as case numbers rise

Alberta has about 800 tracers, and chief medical health officer Dr. Hinshaw says more are being recruited

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Hospital and health-care workers who staged a one-day illegal walkout returned to work Tuesday while politicians swapped recriminations and accusations in the house over the dispute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta health staff return to work, surgeries resume after one-day walkout

AHS estimated 157 non-emergency surgeries, most of them in Edmonton, had to be postponed as a result of the walkout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Most Read