March 2, 2020

Subject: SMH 2020 Annual Meeting Update

 

Colleagues,

I’m sure that many of you are tracking the development of the COVID-19 virus. To date, the CDC has recommended that Americans avoid nonessential travel to a number of countries in which the virus has been detected.

That being said, we are monitoring conditions, and do not anticipate cancelling the Annual Meeting. We are almost two months away from meeting in Arlington, and the virus has yet to reach such a stage of transmission that the federal government has deemed it necessary to restrict travel within the U.S. There are also contractual obligations with the hotel that would result in significant financial penalties if we prematurely cancelled without official justification, such as federally-mandated travel restrictions and/or warnings on holding large group meetings. That doesn’t mean that the government’s medical professionals won’t increase their level of concern in the future. And, if concerns increase to the point where it’s deemed not safe to hold the conference, then we will act accordingly. For now, however, travel within the U.S. and from most countries is unrestricted, and, according to the healthcare professionals overseeing the response, the threat still remains low. We will, however, maintain a close eye on things, and provide updates as necessary.

As to registration refunds, individuals who are officially prohibited from traveling to the U.S. will be refunded. For all others, a decision not to travel due to the virus will not be automatically refunded, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. And, in the unlikely event that the Council decides to cancel the conference, then we will refund all registration fees.

We will provide updates as necessary, but for now the links below provide some pretty good info on the COVID-19 virus and travel advisories:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

https://www.ustravel.org/toolkit/emergency-preparedness-and-response-coronavirus-covid-19

All the Best,
C.C. Felker
SMH Executive Director