STS 2022 COVID Protocols

This page was last updated October 21, 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 will require that all professional registrants, exhibitors, guests, and STS staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their attendance. Requests for exemptions required by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) or other applicable law will be granted. In addition, in accordance with current guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), masks will be required while in the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

STS is working with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and will follow or exceed all recommended CDC safety protocols, as well as comply with federal, state, and local law and guidance. The Society continues to monitor all guidelines and regulations and will update these protocols as appropriate. 

Importantly, 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.
 

Right of Entry: Vaccination Requirement

All in-person attendees, exhibitors, guests, and STS staff at STS 2022 must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of their vaccination status in order to gain access to the meeting (unless granted an ADA exemption).
A person is considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine

This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (ie, 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).

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on October 15 that it will accept mixed-dose coronavius vaccines from international travelers

If an attendee, exhibitor, guest, or STS staff member is NOT considered fully vaccinated, he/she will not be permitted to enter the meeting. This vaccination policy also applies to all attendees at STS social events (unless granted an ADA exemption).
 

Right of Entry: Proof of Vaccination

The Society will make available a phone app for securely confirming proof of vaccination. This will allow quick and seamless sharing of an attendee’s vaccination status with STS staff at Registration. Proof of vaccination will be required for badge pick up. More details to come.

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

The following protocols will be in place during STS 2022 at the Miami Beach Convention Center:

  • 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

While a negative COVID test is not required for admittance to STS 2022, testing will be available at local, offsite clinics by appointment and walk-in (subject to availability) for anyone who is experiencing COVID symptoms or requires a test for post-meeting travel. Onsite COVID testing will not be available.

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 requiring full COVID-19 vaccination?

After careful consideration and consultation with internal and external health and safety experts, the Society has determined that STS 2022 can be the most robust, interactive, and safest meeting possible by requiring vaccinations for entry. 

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

No, testing will not be required for in-person attendance at STS 2022. However, if needed, COVID testing will be available at several offsite locations for anyone who is experiencing COVID symptoms or requires 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. If you are unable to comply with health and safety protocols or travel to Miami Beach, or if you are onsite and feeling unwell during the meeting, 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.

Exhibitor Booth Guidelines

Coming soon!