STS 2022 COVID Protocols

This page was last updated December 29, 2021. Questions? Contact the Meetings department.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is closely following the latest developments in COVID-19 safety protocols and legal requirements, and is keeping updated its health and safety protocols related to in-person attendance at the STS 58th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, January 29-31.

During STS 2022, the Society strongly recommends that all professional registrants, exhibitors, and guests be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their attendance. Pursuant to Florida statute, STS is not permitted to require vaccination as a prerequisite for admission to our meeting. 

Meeting Entry Requirement 
All in-person attendees, exhibitors, and guests at STS 2022 will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of check-in at the convention center and every day until departure. In lieu of this testing requirement, individuals may voluntarily show proof of full vaccination the first time they check in at Registration. 

Those who choose to demonstrate full vaccination will be considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine; and, if eligible, have received a booster shot. For those choosing daily testing, rapid test results will be accepted.

This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson/Janssen), and COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (i.e., AstraZeneca/Oxford, Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac).

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination will be required for badge pick-up. If an attendee, exhibitor, or guest does not have a negative test dated within 24 hours of check-in at Registration and every day until departure, or is not able to show proof of full vaccination, they will not be permitted to enter until they can satisfy the meeting entry requirement. This policy also applies to attendees at STS social events.

To make it simpler for attendees to provide proof of COVID vaccination and/or negative test results, STS will employ the CLEAR Health Pass app, which allows touchless verification onsite at the meeting. The app can come in handy at airports where CLEAR stations are used. When attendees arrive at STS 2022, they can use the app to confirm their status quickly, seamlessly, and securely.

Masks at STS 2022

In areas with substantial and high COVID transmission, the CDC recommends that everyone—even fully vaccinated people—wear masks in public and indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant. 

In alignment with this CDC guidance, masks will be required inside the Miami Beach Convention Center and on STS shuttle buses, except when eating or presenting during an educational session. This policy may change if local conditions and public health requirements change. Attendees and exhibitors should bring their own masks. 

See the links below for hotels in the STS block to learn the latest information on individual hotel mask policies for guests and staff.

Onsite Health and Safety Measures

In recognition of enhanced health and safety measures, the Miami Beach Convention Center has received GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association). In earning this accreditation, the Convention Center has demonstrated a “superior ability” to prepare for, respond to, and recover from outbreaks and pandemics such as COVID-19. 

STS is required to comply with all health and safety measures put in place by the Miami Beach Convention Center during the STS 2022 event:

  • Face masks will be required.
  • Portable and wall-mounted hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the venue.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be performed on commonly touched surfaces and in high-traffic areas.
  • Restrooms will have touch-free surfaces, including automatically flushing toilets, hands-free faucets, paper towel dispensers, and hand dryers.
  • Health advisory signs will be posted throughout the venue.

All attendees, exhibitors, guests, and staff should:

  • Not enter the Miami Beach Convention Center if they are experiencing symptoms that have been associated with COVID-19
  • Wash their hands often with soap and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching their eyes, noses, and mouths with unwashed hands
  • Engage in additional responsible health and safety practices, in and out of the Convention Center
COVID Testing

COVID-19 testing will be available at local, offsite clinics by appointment and walk-in (subject to availability) for any attendee who is required to present negative COVID tests for meeting entry, is experiencing symptoms, or requires a negative test for post-meeting travel. Onsite COVID testing will not be available. STS is not responsible for the cost of COVID testing. 

Below is a list of urgent care clinics near the Miami Beach Convention Center:

1. MedRite Urgent Care, 542 W. 41st Street, Miami Beach FL 33140
Offers walk-in rapid testing and standard PCR testing

2. CVS, 306 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach FL 33139
Offers PCR testing, by appointment only
Make an appointment (search by zip code) 

3. CVS, 2000 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33139
Offers PCR testing, by appointment only
Make an appointment (search by zip code)

Travel to Miami Beach

STS recommends all attendees, exhibitors, guests, and STS staff comply with travel guidelines issued by the CDC when traveling to Miami Beach, Florida.

Miami International Airport has available COVID-19 testing for passengers and visitors. View the website for more information.  

If traveling internationally, it is important to  review country-specific COVID-19 requirements provided by the US Department of State.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is STS not requiring full COVID-19 vaccination?

Florida statute prohibits organizations from requiring event attendees to be vaccinated as a condition of entry. Most STS 2022 attendees already are vaccinated due to the nature of their work and vaccine requirements applicable to them, and STS strongly encourages all attendees to be fully vaccinated. Those who do not wish to share proof of vaccination will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of check-in and every day until departure. Daily testing combined with adherence to risk mitigation strategies such as wearing masks and frequent hand washing will help promote the health and safety of all meeting attendees.  

Is COVID-19 testing required by STS at any point during conference?

Attendees will be required to have a negative COVID test within 24 hours of check-in and every day until departure, or show proof of vaccination on their first day. In addition, any attendee who believes they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should cease attending the meeting until they test negative for COVID-19.

For individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or need a test for post-meeting travel, below is a list of urgent care clinics near the Miami Beach Convention Center:

1. MedRite Urgent Care, 542 W. 41st Street, Miami Beach FL 33140
Offers walk-in rapid testing and standard PCR testing

2. CVS, 306 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach FL 33139
Offers PCR testing, by appointment only
Make an appointment (search by zip code) 

3. CVS, 2000 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33139
Offers PCR testing, by appointment only
Make an appointment (search by zip code)

Is STS collecting or storing vaccination information?

STS will not collect or maintain information about vaccination status. The company providing the phone app described above does collect and maintain information about vaccination status as part of the app’s basic function, but no such information is provided to STS.

Can I register for virtual attendance?

Yes. While the importance of in-person connection cannot be understated, the Society recognizes the personal and professional challenges of today’s environment.

As a result, STS has decided to livestream select content from its 58th Annual Meeting on a virtual meeting platform. On-demand sessions and e-posters also will be available. In addition, registration for the virtual meeting includes access to the subsequent Annual Meeting Online product, which will offer on-demand viewing of recordings of nearly all meeting sessions and content in the STS Learning Center for 1 year. Continuing medical education credit will be available for both the virtual meeting and Annual Meeting Online. 
 

Can I change my in-person registration to virtual attendance?

Yes, you may change your registration from in-person to virtual at any time. Visit the STS Registration and Hotel Support Center for additional information. Please note that there will be no penalty for a change in meeting registration; however, there may be a housing penalty after a certain date (STS does not control the cancelation policies of hotels or transportation companies).

What are the safety measures for the exhibit hall?

All booths will have sanitization resources and will be required to use EPA-approved cleaning solutions. Increased cleaning protocols also will be implemented, including for high-touch areas and/or demonstration products. Additional efforts will be made to alleviate potential congestion. Also, the mask policy described above is applicable to the entire Miami Beach Convention Center, so it applies to the exhibit hall as well.

What are the safety measures for educational sessions?

Speakers will have the option to use disposable face shields or other protective measures when presenting. STS will make efforts to help ensure that seating for panels of speakers is generously spaced, when possible.

Room capacity and spacing requirements continuously evolve based on the latest developments. Accordingly, audience seating may be modified to allow for compliance with reduced capacity guidelines, and room sets may be modified to accommodate increased spacing. Overflow seating and livestream simulcasting may be implemented for certain presentations.
 

What are the safety measures for STS networking/social events?

The Society still is exploring best practices for onsite networking events. Robust opportunities to engage with peers and colleagues will be offered, with modifications to traditional event settings that help mitigate risks. Specifically, events may include access to outdoor areas, individually portioned food/beverage, adjusted spacing, and other accommodations.

What if I have additional questions?

STS will continue to provide updated communications to registrants and exhibitors; check this website regularly. If you have time-sensitive questions, contact the Meetings department.