Antec 2020 conference will go ahead as planned in March, SPE says
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The organization will put new measures in place to minimize the potential transmission of illnesses when the conference takes place from March 29-April 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
In the midst of global concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has reaffirmed its intention to hold its Antec 2020 technical event in San Antonio, Texas at the end of March.
In a March 3 open letter addressed to the industry, SPE CEO Patrick Farrey said that the event will go ahead as planned, from March 29-April 2, at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter.
“For the past several weeks, the SPE leadership team has been closely monitoring the issues regarding COVID-19 (the ‘Coronavirus’) and its potential impact on Antec 2020,” Farrey said. “Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our volunteers, attendees, staff and plastics industry stakeholders at-large. We have been in touch almost daily with our host hotel…and through them with the San Antonio Texas Mayor’s Office, Visit San Antonio and Meetings Mean Business Coalition. We have consulted with them and with our other vendor-partners to understand the implications, our options and the reality of this evolving situation.”
Farrey then noted that “the current risk assessment issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, ‘…most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States….’”
Farrey then listed a number of additional measures that will be put in place to minimize the potential transmission of illnesses during Antec, which is the SPE’s biggest annual conference:
- All registered Antec attendees from travel-restricted regions have been given a full refund.
- Speakers from Asia unable to attend may present via video conference to ensure the quality of the Antec technical program is unaffected.
- Any hotel staff showing symptoms of illness will not be permitted to work, regardless of their position or role in the hotel.
- Food preparation workers will strictly adhere to all of Marriott’s highest level of sanitary practices.
- All buffet food stations will be staffed by gloved servers, preventing attendee contact with serving utensils.
- Individual hand sanitizer stations will be placed in all meeting rooms and in open areas throughout the hotel.
- Each attendee will be issued individual bottles of hand sanitizer for personal use.
- The Marriott “Make a Green Choice” program will be suspended during Antec to ensure the highest level of cleanliness and daily sanitization of sleeping rooms.
- Disposable, one-time use plasticware, plastic straws, plastic cups and wrapped plasticware will be used throughout the hotel wherever practical.
- Any regular silverware used will be served securely wrapped in sanitized cotton napkins.
Also, SPE has published Keeping Healthy @ ANTEC® with practical tips to support its attendees’ well-being.
Finally, SPE has established what it calls an Antec 24-hour healthcare hotline. “If attendees need medical help of any kind, or wish to report a health issue of concern, they may call +1-203-740-5425 at any time during the conference,” Farrey said.