The world has changed. COVID-19 is here. Our province is now navigating through a double crisis of protecting public health and our economic wellbeing. As of July, 2020, our region is in Stage 3 of reopening. We are committed to continuing HOWL, and we want to announce our plan for how we will adapt our convention in a safe and responsible way. We do not want to compromise the health of our attendees, nor do we want to harm the health of the small rural community of Whitney. We will be strictly following the COVID-19 prevention guidelines as advised by the Government of Ontario and the Renfrew County District Health Unit.


We do not want to compromise the health of you, the howlers. We also don't want to harm the health of the small rural community of Whitney. We will be strictly following the COVID-19 prevention guidelines as advised by the Government of Ontario and the Renfrew County District Health Unit.

HOWL 2020 Safety Precautions

HOWL’s COVID-19 philosophy is “respect the virus.” We want all Howlers to know that we take coronavirus very seriously, and that, in the absence of a safe vaccine, we will need all attendees to accept our new health and safety policy. We are creating these rules and procedures to eliminate the risk of any asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission.

Mandatory Masks

You will be required to wear a mask indoors at all times, unless you are sitting down to eat. While it's not ideal that we'll have to wear masks during presentations, it's a simple health precaution that allows us to continue with the convention. Speakers will deliver their presentations behind the safety of a plexiglass podium, similar to what cashiers use in retail.

Isolated Seating & Reduced Capacity

Our venue, at 1,500 square feet, can realistically accommodate 40 people while adhering to the 6-foot distancing requirement. For this reason we are only selling up to 40 tickets. If you are coming to HOWL with someone who is in your social bubble, make sure you contact us so that we can seat you within your bubble. We will share the seating plans with you in advance.

Assigned Seating

We will have assigned seating (determined in a random, non-biased way), and Howlers will have to return to their assigned seat for every presentation. If you intend on coming to the music nights, please contact us so that we reserve you an isolated seat at the Bongopix campfire.

Cash-less Experience

HOWL will be 100% cash-less. Attendees buying drinks or merchandise will need to tap either a debit card or credit card. Drinks can also be purchased on a tab, and the tab can be paid remotely (credit card or e-transfer) by the conclusion of the convention.

Photo: Sandy Sharkey

Take-out Style Food

Food service at HOWL will comply with provincial health guidelines. Due to the health situation we cannot have an elaborate buffet. Instead, howlers can expect outdoor take-out style food or indoor plate service. Food will be cooked and served at the Mad Musher Restaurant, a fully licensed, insured, and health-inspected establishment.

Respect for Physical Distancing

HOWL is only possible if we all buy into physical distancing. Unless it's someone in your personal social bubble, please do not invade someone's 6-foot radius of space. There is no shame if you are compelled to mask-up in a social situation. In fact, masks are a simple way to mitigate corona problems. Everyone gets a free HOWL mask, by the way!

More Outdoor Time

HOWL 2020 will have more of an emphasis on outdoor time. It's healthier. Coffee breaks and live campfire music will be held outdoors, so bring a toque, a sweater, and an umbrella or rain jacket. If you're coming to HOWL to socialize, be prepared to do that mostly outside. If you're mostly interested in the lectures, you can sit (and eat takeout) in your car during breaks, or hang out with a mask indoors.

Hand Sanitizer & Free HOWL Mask

We believe in good hygiene. Hand sanitizer stations will be available at every entrance, exit, washroom, and at other key locations throughout the convention. Our facilities are commercially cleaned and operated in cooperation with the RCD Health Unit. If you forget a mask, don't worry, everyone gets a free HOWL mask!

I still feel uneasy about attending HOWL despite your health precautions. What are my options?

Your health is your priority, and we understand if you are still concerned.

If you have already paid your deposit for HOWL 2020, there are 2 options:

Safely attend VIRTUAL HOWL

We will broadcast an exclusive livestream of the convention which will allow you to watch all of the presentations and the panel. The cost of attending VIRTUAL HOWL, from the comfort of your own home, is $225+RSVP fee, 50% of the total ticket cost (the deposit). You would need a free Zoom account to attend virtually.

Cancel by Sept 15, 2020 and get a full refund

If you still feel unsafe despite our new health and safety policies, or if you consider yourself vulnerable, you have until September 15, 2020, to cancel and receive a full refund. Your health is your priority so we are offering a reasonable window of time for you to weigh your decision if you want to opt to cancel.

Will Melissa Groo attend HOWL in person?

Headshot photographed by Heather Ainsworth

There is a very real possibility that Melissa Groo may be limited to attending HOWL virtually. As of July, 2020, the border between Canada and USA is still not open to non-essential travel. If the border remains closed then Melissa will deliver her presentation and participate in the panel virtually.

We want to be upfront: COVID-19 will likely prevent Melissa Groo from being able to attend HOWL in person. If you are not satisfied with Melissa attending in a virtual format, please contact us by September 15, 2020 to cancel and receive a full refund.

Will John E. Marriott attend?

As of July 2020 plane travel between Alberta and Ontario is permitted and there is no mandatory quarantine policy. Having said that, each province finds itself in its own unique situation, and a new quarantine policy or new lockdown would prevent John E. Marriott from being able to attend HOWL.

Although it is much more likely for John E. Marriott to attend HOWL in person, there is still a possibility that his role in the convention may be limited to presenting virtually via Zoom, similar to Melissa. If you are disappointed that John E. Marriott might present virtually, then you have by September 15, 2020, to cancel and get a full refund of your ticket.

What happens in the worst case scenario that Ontario experiences another strict lockdown?

In the event of Lockdown 2.0 HOWL will be held online via Zoom.

If we are limited to hosting HOWL in a virtual format then the 50% cost of your ticket will allow you to attend the convention online. You will need a free Zoom account to participate in the virtual version of HOWL.


If you want to sign up or cancel, email us below!

Images copyright © used with permission by Melissa Groo, John E Marriott, Bongopix, Heather Ainsworth, Sam Stephens, and Steve Dunsford