In a press release sent out Wednesday at 5:00 pm, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced the cancellation of their in-person Retail Asset Protection Conference set to kick off in less than two weeks. RILA spokesperson Tripp Taylor gave the following explanation.
“After a robust conversation with industry executives, health experts, and the conference’s executive steering committee, RILA has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the in-person Retail Asset Protection Conference in Orlando scheduled for August 17-20.
“Yesterday, Florida had its third consecutive day with a record number of COVID-19 infections, and there remain concerns among health experts that the state is still weeks away from peak transmission. While RILA prepared throughout the year to operate the conference with robust safety protocols, we simply cannot recommend to our members, sponsors, speakers, and exhibitors that we gather in what has become the epicenter for the current Delta-variant outbreak. To do so would invite unnecessary risk and run contrary to the example RILA and our member companies have set throughout the pandemic; providing sober, responsible leadership in the communities we serve.
“While this is disappointing for all of us who were looking forward to gathering in-person again, we are confident this is what is best for our member companies, the industry, and conference attendees and supporting solution providers. RILA truly has amazing members; the guidance and support we have received throughout the week as we evaluated our options and arrived at this difficult decision was nothing short of remarkable.
“Exhibitor and sponsor partners like you are a key element of this conference, and your continued participation is crucial to the success of the event. The RILA team and the conference’s executive steering committee are committed to providing top-flight education and unparalleled networking opportunities to the retail asset protection community. We have already begun planning for the 2022 Retail Asset Protection Conference, April 24-27 in Orlando, Florida at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, to ensure it provides the best conference experience possible. Likewise, we are offering incentives to retailer registrants to help ensure attendance will continue to be strong in 2022.
“In the coming days, your primary contact will receive an email with more information on how to proceed with the sponsorship and exhibit space commitment going forward. Your organization will be provided the opportunity to roll your current sponsorship and/or exhibit space commitment forward to the RILA 2022 scheduled event at the 2021 rates/prices or to opt to receive a full refund of your sponsorship / exhibitor space payment(s) made for the 2021 event on file. Should you choose to roll your commitment forward, this option will lock you in at the 2021 rates and also hold your spot included for the exhibitor space selection process for 2022, giving you the earliest possible chance to secure your prime location. Please note, the names of your company’s individual registrants submitted for the conference this year will not be carried over, and your updated attendee names will need to be submitted again once our 2022 exhibitor and sponsor registration opens.
“Should you have questions about the details and effects of this cancellation, we’ve created an FAQ that you can access here.”