How do Storm Water Professionals Feel About Traveling Amid COVID-19?

May 10, 2021

In a brief survey, SWS asked its audience how it feels about traveling and attending live shows. 

About the author:

Katie Johns is managing editor of Storm Water Solutions. Johns can be reached at [email protected]

Shortly after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020, work-related travel was halted. Since then, conferences and trade shows that are typically held in-person have moved to virtual platforms. 

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are in place and becoming increasingly more available to all residents, travel is slowly beginning to resume with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in place. 

With this in mind, starting April 7, Storm Water Solutions (SWS) polled its audience of storm water and erosion control professionals on its thoughts regarding live-event attendance. The five-question survey asked respondents if they were comfortable traveling now, when they would be comfortable traveling, their comfort levels for local, state, regional and national shows, what safety measures they would like to see implemented and, in their own words, what would make them feel most comfortable to begin traveling. 

As of April 27, 2021, the survey had 30 responses. To gain as many perspectives as possible, the survey is still open. To add your insight, please take the survey here.  Pending additional responses, SWS will continue to monitor the overall industry attitude toward travel and continue reporting the survey data. 

To those who have already completed the survey, thank you for your time and participation. 

For the questions and results as of April 27, 2021, see below. 

Are You Comfortable With Traveling for Work-Related Events Right Now?

This was the first question on the survey, and perhaps, the most significant. The results show a slight majority of the industry being ready to travel. The following four questions dive into this a bit deeper. 

  • Yes: 53.3%
  • No: 46.7%
  • Not applicable to me: 0%

When Will You Feel Most Comfortable to Begin Traveling for In-Person Work-Related Events?

This question evaluates when people will feel ready to travel. For this question, work-related events include trade shows, conferences, sales calls, etc. This one had a clearer majority, with 46.7% of the respondents marking Q2 as when they will be ready to travel. The second most-chosen response was 2022. 

  • Q2 (April, May, June): 46.7%
  • Q3 (July, August, September): 16.7%
  • Q4 (October, November December): 10%
  • 2022: 26.7%

How Comfortable Are You Traveling to the Following Events?

The answers for this question were varied.We sought to gain insight on how industry professionals feel traveling locally, regionally or nationally. The largest margin came when respondents were asked about national trade shows and conferences. Thirteen of the 30 respondents are “very uncomfortable” traveling to national shows at this time. At the other end of the spectrum, three are “very comfortable.” The most evenly dispersed responses came from local shows. A full breakdown is below: 

Local trade shows and conferences:

  • Very uncomfortable: 23.3%
  • Uncomfortable: 23.3%
  • Neutral:13.3%
  • Comfortable: 20%
  • Very comfortable: 20%

State trade shows and conferences: 

  • Very uncomfortable: 26.67%
  • Uncomfortable: 30% 
  • Neutral: 6.6%
  • Comfortable: 20%
  • Very comfortable: 16.67% 

Regional trade shows and conferences: 

  • Very uncomfortable: 36%
  • Uncomfortable:  23%
  • Neutral: 3%
  • Comfortable: 26%
  • Very comfortable: 10%

National trade shows and conferences: 

  • Very uncomfortable: 43%
  • Uncomfortable:  16%
  • Neutral: 3%
  • Comfortable: 26%
  • Very comfortable: 10%

What Safety Measures Would You Like in Place If You Were to Travel to Live Events?

For this question, we asked respondents to answer in their own words. We wanted to know what safety measures storm water and erosion control professionals would like to see put in place at shows if they were to travel now. Sanitizing stations, masks, more vaccinations and social distancing were among the common answers. Below are verbatim responses from some of those who took the survey: 

  • I would prefer remote until 2022. Social distancing is too difficult in large gatherings and not enough people are taking advantage of vaccinations. I would not like to be on an airplane in the coming months for travel either.”
  • “Company I work for will need to approve the travel.”
  • “Social distancing, masks, and most people vaccinated. Also, my company does not currently allow any non-essential travel or meetings.”
  • “On-site testing for COVID-19, contact tracing, masks, physical distancing, regular handwashing”
  • “There are none I would be comfortable with at the moment.”
  • “Outdoor events whenever possible. Masks required indoors. Social distancing indoors and outdoors. Open windows for indoor events.”
  • “Wearing masks when interacting with people in an indoor environment.”
  • “Social distancing, masks, limited number of people, lots of fun discussions and activities”
  • “Mask wearing, Majority vaccinated”
  • “Requiring all attendees to be vaccinated, maintain the social distancing, and verify current health conditions in relationship to COVID.”
  • “General COVID protocol”
  • “Sanitizing stations and masks”

In your own words, describe what would make you most comfortable to begin traveling for work related events?

Similar to the previous question, we asked respondents what measures would make them comfortable to travel, if they weren’t already. Respondents wrote in their answers for this one, and many of the answers pointed to mass vaccinations. Below are some of the verbatim responses:

  • “Vaccines available to those who want it, continued recognition and respect of others around personal hygiene, social distancing, and mask wearing. I've traveled twice already for non-work related issues.”
  • “When the nationwide pandemic is under control and new cases are uncommon. Even when vaccinated I would prefer not to be exposed. We do not know at this time how long the vaccine remains effective.”
  • “People just following the safety guidelines and requirements.”
  • “Maybe a little extreme, but it would be great if those I am traveling with were vaccinated.”
  • “Some more time for vaccinations and fewer new cases.”
  • “Herd immunity”
  • “Confirmation that all persons maintain proper health and safety requirements in relation to current COVID status.”
  • “80% population has been vaccinated”
  • “I'm comfortable now.”
  • “Significant sustained reduction in the number of COVID cases, assurances that the event will enforce masks and social distancing.”
  • “Ready to go now”
  • “Any type of large gathering should not occur until 2022.”

As both COVID-19 and vaccines numbers change, SWS will continue to report on how the industry is being impacted. If you’re interested in sharing your input, please take the survey here. 

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About the Author

Katie Johns

Katie Johns, editor-in-chief of Storm Water Solutions and Water Quality Products, graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016 with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Johns joined the Storm Water Solutions team in September 2019. Johns also helps plan the annual StormCon conference and co-hosts the Talking Under Water podcast. Prior to entering the B2B industry, she worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in Sarasota, Florida, and a magazine assistant editor in the Chicago suburbs. She can be reached at [email protected].