The ASM leadership has been monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Tucson (Pima County, Arizona) is seeing a steady rise in COVID-19 cases (https://covidactnow.org/us/arizona-az/county/pima_county/chart/9?s=35012299). Tucson is also at “medium risk” according to the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html). Unfortunately, there have been several recent conferences that have met in-person under similar conditions, which have resulted in COVID-19 outbreaks among attendees.
As a result of the data available to us, and our observations from other conferences, the ASM leadership highly recommends masking in all indoor meeting spaces. This includes session rooms, committee spaces, and social areas. The exceptions to masking include active eating and drinking, presenting (if comfortable), and outdoor hotel spaces. The Westin La Paloma and Resort also has ample shaded outdoor spaces for socializing. We recognize that masking can be a barrier to individuals with hearing impairments, but we hope modest exceptions to this recommendation will help our colleagues while providing added safety to all conference attendees.
If Tucson moves to a “high risk” category according to CDC metrics, the ASM leadership will require masks throughout the indoor conference spaces. Please be prepared! Get tested before you travel, and update your vaccinations if eligible.
Thank you very much for your cooperation and your efforts to help make ASM 2022 a safe and enjoyable conference for everyone!