Some things just go together! Peanut butter and jelly, Mardi Gras and beads, and swingers conventions and pandemics.
In some of the worst room reading since Donald Trump professed his undying love for Kim Jong Un, a swingers convention was held in New Orleans this week.
During a pandemic.
No during a SPIKE in a pandemic, when COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate and Louisiana just reported the largest one-day total in COVID-19 cases since August.
The head of the convention, Bob Hannaford, who runs it with his wife Tess, was quick to explain the measures taken by Naughty N’awlins to make it pandemic-friendly.
For instance, they greatly slashed how many people could attend the event this year, from 2400 attendees last year to 259 attendees this year.
He elaborated, “We spread out the crowd each night between 4 venues to ensure we never had more than about 70 people in one place, at one time.”
He eagerly shared images of the new spread-out layout within seminar rooms. Chairs were grouped in twos, six-feet apart from each other. The program clarified, “In our classes, we will have two chairs placed together and then we will have a space so you can enjoy the class while being socially distant. After all, the main reason to be in the class is to learn anyway.” Classes included topics like anal sex, female pleasure, and bondage.
However, the seminars only made up a small portion of the convention’s events. Other events included meet and greets, pool parties, Erotic EDM Dance Parties, an Erotic Ball, Bourbon Street parties, a Sexual Freedom Parade, visiting playrooms at Colette, a speed dating event, and so much more.
The safety precautions put in place for these largely social events were mainly reliant on Naughty N’awlins’ wristband system.
Bob explained that “Of the attendees, 98 had COVID -19 prior to coming and already recovered longer than the 14 days the CDC requires before they can go out in public or they had a positive antibody test. We gave them purple wristbands…We issued another 39 wristbands to people that were screened for COVID-19 and tested Negative within a couple of days of the event. Each wristband has the date the person tested negative. We have 122 people that did not show us a COVID-19 test or antibody test. Many of them claimed that they had it, or that they got a test, but they did not have documentation. We would not issue the purple or blue wristbands unless that could prove it. So that means that over 50% of our attendees have been tested this week or already had it and recovered. I think we are setting a great example as an event producer and a responsible City resident and state citizen.”
Each attendee was also sent a copy of the “Being Naughty in a Covid World” guide which explained all of the new COVID-19 Guidelines guests would be expected to follow at the convention.
The guide explained that attendees would be required to wear masks at all times but, “You don’t have to wear a mask in the pool, while in Colette, while seated at a table and drinking or eating food.” It was also implied that you wouldn’t have to wear masks at special after-hours events, and obviously while doing the actual swinging.
With so many instances where masks would not have to be donned, the number of social events associated with the convention, and the 122 people who received no COVID-19 tests, it seems inevitable that some sort of outbreak will happen after the convention.
To help track if any COVID-19 outbreaks occur, Bob and Tess provided each couple with a “Naughty Diary.” In their guide, they explained that it was “a great way to write down people’s phone numbers, room numbers, emails, and website profiles. We want you to keep track of who you met during the event so you can keep in touch with them afterward. If you do come down with COVID-19 during or after the event…you can contact them to let them know that they might have come in contact with them while you might have had the virus. Being able to trace contacts—especially those who are nearby and unmasked for more than a moment is part of our collective responsibility.”