The current crisis regarding COVID-19 and the ever-evolving pandemic is one Ragtag Film Society (RFS) takes seriously. Our leadership team worked closely with the City/County health department while making the decision to continue with the 2020 Festival. The health department reviewed the countries of origin of all official festival guests and determined that, at that time, none were coming from areas that posed a risk. On March 5, leadership attended a press conference addressing the virus held by the Mayor of Columbia. Speakers included authorities from the City/County health department, the University of Missouri, and MU Health Care. At that time, there were no active cases of COVID-19 in the state of Missouri. In keeping with the guidelines from the CDC on that date, the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department saw no reason to alter plans for the Fest.
Throughout the Fest, precautions were taken to mitigate the potential spread of infection. CDC-approved signs were posted encouraging people to wash hands effectively and often; fest goers were encouraged to use alternate forms of greeting one another (the elbow bump was quite popular); hand sanitizer stations were increased throughout the Fest, including at the Box Office and all Fest events; surfaces were cleaned throughout the weekend; and passholders, as well as staff and volunteers, were told to stay home if they were sick. True/False continued to work closely with our local health department, healthcare providers, and the City of Columbia to ensure all guidelines outlined by the CDC were being met.
As of this writing, RFS is not aware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 from festival attendees, guests, staff, or volunteers. Fest and Cinema leadership continue to work closely with the Health Department, and in keeping with CDC and City guidelines, have closed Ragtag Cinema through April 2nd (and possibly beyond), asked Cinema and festival staff to work from home, and will continue to adjust policies as needed.