When 2021 started, we were hopeful that this was the year we were going to get back to normal-ish.

The plan felt pretty straightforward: Get vaccinated -> reunite with family and friends -> travel again -> make new friends, and have hugs be a thing again. (Anyone else getting tired of awkwardly elbowing folks?)

And early this summer, things looked to be on just that track. We announced in-person Meetups and started to discuss in-person watch parties for Coalesce. But then… yeah.

So here’s the crux: Unfortunately, given current trends and the latest we know about the Delta variant, we’ve decided to cancel all in-person events for the remainder of 2021.

Why we’re cancelling in-person events in 2021

This is a decision we did not take lightly. With Covid cases rising globally linked to the spread of the Delta variant, official guidance is changing rapidly, and what we’re learning about how the Delta variant functions is cause for genuine concern. In the current environment, we just don’t believe it’s possible to host in-person events that foster a safe and healthy environment for the dbt Community.

One thing this decision does is that it buys us time. Time for our healthcare systems, governments, and communities to continue the fight against the Delta variant, and for us to invest in resources that will help us better manage the logistical complexities of safer in-person events when they are again a possibility.

We will continue to monitor metrics and consult with experts, and will re-evaluate our timeline in December. Once we have more information, you'll be the first to know.

What if I want to host an in-person event? Will dbt Labs support community-organized in-person gatherings? Can I promote our in-person meeting in the dbt Slack?

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to help with planning or promoting any in-person events in 2021. As hard as it is for me to write this, the last thing we want is to promote an activity that negatively impacts the health and safety of community members.

We also recognize that there are smaller, more informal gatherings happening across the globe (happy hour, coffee dates, dinners). If your area is at low risk for community transmission and you choose to host an in-person gathering, we strongly recommend the following actions:

  • Monitor levels of transmission in your community:
  • Check your country / local level resources for the latest data
  • US: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view
  • Adhere to local health department guidance:
  • Local health guidance for the locals of our previously planned upcoming Meetups (San Francisco, Berlin, Chicago, Boston)
  • Book outdoor venues and limit capacity
  • Screen for covid symptoms:
  • Symptoms Guide: Know the difference between Covid, a cold and allergies
  • Set up a system for people to self-report on symptoms prior to the event
  • Have on-site screening available for proof of vaccination, temperature checks, or administering rapid testing kits
  • Enforce mask wearing and follow social distancing best practices

That sounds like a lot. Is all of that really necessary?

Unfortunately, we think it is, at least given where things are right now. Delta is one of the most transmissible respiratory viruses in known to humanity, and case counts are currently skyrocketing back towards last winter's highs.

With the tools we have at our disposal—vaccines, tests, masks, outdoor venues, and local epidemiological datasets, it is actually possible to run safe in-person gatherings, but in doing so the organizer bears a tremendous amount of responsibility for making sure that attendees are safe. This is a lot more than most folks sign up for when they agree to host a meetup, and it's more than we feel comfortable asking of our meetup hosts (or honestly are in a position to execute on ourselves).

That said, if you're ready and willing to put these safety protocols in place for your event, more power to you.

So...more Zoom then?

Pomeranian working on an iPad

As much as I'm disappointed to not get to meet the dbt Community in person this year, I'm so impressed by the resilience we have shown since the start of the pandemic. In a community that was brought together by close-knit in-person meetups in 2019 and before, we didn't miss a beat in shifting into a new mode. We've held just fantastic online events, made real human-to-human connections, and continued to support data practitioners and their growth throughout the pandemic. And that's not going to stop.

I'm as excited to meet you in person as you are, and we'll make it happen as soon as we possibly can. Promise. 🤞🏽

Be well and stay healthy! With lots of virtual hugs,

—Rosie