Macstock and COVID-19

Current Status as of April 11, 2020: Macstock 2020 will be postponed to July 2021.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Macstock 2020 is officially postponed to July 2021. For more details, please see the following post:

April 5th Update: Milestone dates added.

There are two new “milestone” dates for Macstock 2020: April 25th and May 25th. These are new Major Go / No Go Dates for Macstock and represent 3 months and 2 months prior to Macstock 2020 Weekend.

With the rapid spread of COVID-19 abroad and here in the United States, I’ve been monitoring the situation very closely the past few weeks, watching what other conferences & events scheduled for this summer are doing, speaking with local health officials here in my area, as well as taking counsel from organizations such as the World Health Organization and the CDC.

At the moment, Macstock 2020 will be held as scheduled.

As news of the pandemic continues to change (seemingly on an hourly basis), so might the plans for Macstock 2020. Rest assured, I will continue to keep a very close eye on the situation, and I will act responsibly for the health and safety of everyone within the Macstock community.

This page will be updated as the situation evolves. Thank you all very much for your patience and understanding.


UPDATED 03/22/2020: added link to Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings

UPDATED 03/15/2020: added latest mass gathering guidance from the CDC

UPDATED 03/15/2020: added statement from Illinois Department of Public Health


Actions I’m Taking for Macstock 2020 in Response to COVID-19

  1. Making a “Go/No Go” decision each week as we get closer to Macstock 2020.
  2. Cap Macstock ticket sales at 60% capacity of the conference center, so Macstock attendees can spread out comfortably.
  3. “Permanent” Early Bird pricing so nobody is pressured into deciding to attend before they’re ready to.
  4. Limit number of attendees who can enter the breakout room to 50% capacity for deeper dive sessions.
  5. Working with our venue to reinforce best practice health and food handling protocols including frequent and proper hand washing.
  6. Establishing proper hygiene protocols for all volunteers and attendees.
  7. Providing all Macstock volunteers educational material on recognizing symptoms and preventive measures for COVID-19.
  8. Asking attendees and volunteers to stay home if they are sick, showing symptoms of possible illness, or have potentially been exposed to the virus within 2 weeks (14 days) of Macstock. For those who are/may be affected, providing options for transferring your ticket to Macstock 2021, donating/transferring your ticket to another attendee, or obtaining a refund.
  9. Working with McHenry County Department of Health, WHO, and CDC for guidance as we move closer to Macstock weekend.
  10. Developing a postponement plan for Macstock 2020.


03/22/2020: ADDED Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings

03/15/2020: Statement from Centers for Disease Control on Mass Gatherings

The CDC issued the following directive on Sunday, March 15th:

Guidance as of 3/15/2020

…in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

With two weeks left to go in March, all of April, and then half of May to hit the CDC’s 8 week mark, it looks like we’ll have yet another 8-10 weeks after this recommended cancellation period until Macstock 2020 Weekend. I’m hopeful, of course, the COVID-19 outbreak will weaken by the end of this 8 week recommendation period and we can run as planned.

If it becomes necessary to do so, I don’t want to make the postponement/cancellation of Macstock a last-minute scramble for anyone, so I will be watching developments and make a decision that will have the least impact on the Macstock Community.

03/15/2020: Statement from Illinois Department of Public Health

I received the following statement via email in response to my direct question regarding Macstock 2020:

In Illinois, all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals must be cancelled until April 11. We are encouraging that community events of 250 or more be cancelled or postponed until May 1, including personal and social events. Citizens should consider this in their personal lives and consider refraining from attending events of this size if they are not cancelled or postponed.

I consider this is a fluid statement and subject to change. Again, I will continue to seek guidance as we get closer to Macstock 2020.


Here are a Few Resources and Metrics I’ve Been Using

  1. Updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC
  2. Organizations and Events within the US similar to Macstock (WordCamps, Local User Groups) that have canceled gatherings and events scheduled for late June and beyond.
  3. Local community recommendations, Macstock’s partners (conference center, hotels, and caterers), and, of course, the Macstock Community’s thoughts and sentiment.

Helpful Links and Resources

  1. Basic Protective Measures against the Coronavirus (via World Health Organization)
  2. How to Protect Yourself (via the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  3. Statement from Hilton on the Coronavirus (Hilton is the parent company of Macstock’s preferred partner hotel, the Hampton Inn of McHenry)
  4. Statement/Travel Advisory from IHG on the Coronavirus (IHG is the parent company of Holiday Inn, a partner hotel of Macstock 2020)
  5. Master List Of All Major International Airline Coronavirus Change And Cancellation Policies (continually updated – via Forbes)
  6. US airlines are waiving fees and canceling flights as coronavirus spreads (continually updated – via Vox)