We are very sorry about disappointing the exhibitors, visitors and artists by this announcement. While we have been hoping for the pandemic to calm down enough for us to continue with preparations of Prague Patchwork Meeting in 2021, last figures showing renewed increase in cases, local lockdowns and ongoing travel restrictions even some again closed borders unfortunately directly impact international events of this scale. Requirements to have visitors split in groups of 500, compulsory masks and restrictions on moving between areas make it impossible for us to host PPM at the current venue of Wellness Hotel STEP. We do not want to raise expectations and promise something we may not be able to deliver. Having incurred enormous losses earlier this year, it might mean just additional expenses for all parties and we would like to avoid that. While we remain hopeful, that a vaccine will be developed soon, judging by the current situation, spring 2021 appears to be way too soon. We decided not to go down the virtual route as we have been trying for years to connect visitors with the artists and believe a close up and personal experience is absolutely crucial for textile art. We were also able to offer workshops, presentations of new techniques and materials and close contact with customers, experiences which are not transferable virtually. Prague Patchwork Meeting is shifting to a non-active status, but the textile art and creativity remains strong among all of us. We are looking forward to a time when it will be possible to exhibit all the pieces created during the pandemic to a wider public. We would like to thank you all for the 15 year long support and are hoping to see you again at some point.
The Czech Republic as well as many neighbouring countries have slowly started to ease lockdown measures that restricted businesses including large events, in particular exhibitions and trade shows. The current pace of easing does not seem to accounts for events with above 10 thousand visitors, similarly, the borders are not yet fully open. We are not able to confirm what social distancing measures would need to be put in place in the premises PPM utilizes, i.e. wider corridors would result in les space for quilts as well as retailers. It is impossible to commence preparations for such a big event until there is absolute clarity about what the conditions will be.
The show had to be cancelled three weeks before taking place due to the pandemic "vis major", resulting in PPM having to refund 100% of all fees, rentals and prepayments, leaving the company fully exposed to all operational expenses for the year. We cannot expect any sort of compensation and need to carefully assess any investments in the next year´s event once the conditions are known. We have to keep in mind a potential second peak in autumn resulting in further and long term restrictions. While it is possible to slightly shorten timings for competition announcements, contracting exhibitors and securing retailers, delaying start of the preparations by further than 3 months while ensuring high quality of the show is not possible. We will continue to carefully monitor and evaluate the situation as well as willingness of foreign visitors to travel and participate in large events abroad. We will make a final decision as to if PPM 2021 is realistic and safe for all parties by September 2020.
At the time we were about to communicate with you all details about the upcoming PPM, the Czech Security Council announced that starting from 11th March, 2020, all public gatherings with over 100 attendees have to be cancelled until further notice.
We are grateful for all your support and are fully aware that you share our sadness and frustration about the event being cancelled and all the work that has seemingly gone to waste.
Cancellation is one thing, financial settlement and counting losses is another one. While all parties have the responsibility to return any deposits and upfront payments, this does not concern coverage of any recurring costs we incurred during the year to prepare and promote the event. It affects not only us, but also our retailers, the hotel, visitors cancelling their trips etc. Only the upcoming months will tell what the real impact will be. At the moment, we are waiting for the our suppliers to return all deposits paid, so that we can start refunding quilt entries and workshop fees. Same will go for all invoices issued to our retailers. Given the volume of items, we anticipate that the whole process may take up to a month.
We regret to infirm that due to today´s decision of State Security Council of the Czech Republic all public shows with more than 100 participants are forbidden until further notice. We have to follow this restriction and have therefore immediately started the process of cancellation due to "force majeure". The sellers, exhibitors and workshop participants will be informed about further proceedings as soon as possible. We ask the artists NOT to send us their quilts, those already delivered will be posted back or can be picked up at the PPM office. Entry fees will be returned, details will follow next week.
5.3.2020: The organizers of PPM as well as Wellness Hotel Step continue their preparations for the 14th PPM that is to take place between 3rd and 5th April, 2020. In line with the statements of the Czech Security Council, there is no need to restrict public events in the Czech Republic, also covering trade fairs and exhibitions. Any health and hygienic measures during PPM will be strengthened in line with current recommendations by Czech public health services. Should there be any need for extraordinary measures that would affect PPM in any way, we will proceed accordingly and will inform all retailers, exhibitors and visitors immediately.