COVID-19 Health and Safety

AAGL Safety Statement and Onsite Health and Safety

AAGL considers the safety of all those on-site at AAGL’s Global Congress, a top priority. Please be sure to abide by and review AAGL’s code of conduct and personal accountability commitment.

11/6:  UPDATE!  Please read the important mask requirement update for all in-person attendees, exhibitors, faculty, and guests in attendance in Austin.

11/2: UPDATE!  Please see these IMPORTANT onsite safety protocol that will be in place at this meeting at the Austin Convention Center.  There are no exceptions.  Please be sure to have your documents and ID ready to present onsite in order to attend this year’s meeting.  All attendees, exhibitors, faculty, guests and staff will be required to adhere to to this policy.  If you have any questions, please contact Linda Stewart via email:  lstewart@aagl.org or via phone at 714-694-2107. 

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COVID Onsite Health & Safety FAQ

Q: What is the mask policy for the Congress?

A: Update (11/6).  In the interest of caution and safety for all our attendees, the AAGL Board requests that everyone in attendance wear a mask. If you don’t have a mask, one will be provided for you.

Q: Am I required to be fully vaccinated to attend the AAGL Global Congress?

A: Faculty, attendees, exhibitors, guests, and staff (including support personnel, i.e., audiovisual technicians, musicians, convention support), must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, OR a negative clinically administered COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to attending the Global Congress. 

Q: When and where do I need to show my proof of vaccination or negative clinically administered COVID-19 test upon arrival?

A: Upon arrival at the Austin Convention Center, all attendees must go through “Station 1 – COVID Health & Safety” located on Level 1, in the Solar Atrium, to verify vaccination OR negative COVID test documentation. Once you have been cleared, proceed to the attendee badge pick-up desk to collect your badge and Congress materials.

Q: Which vaccines are approved?

A: The following vaccines are accepted for verification and have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO): Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm-BBIBP, Sinovac, and Novavax.

Q: If I am presenting a vaccination card, do I have to be fully vaccinated?

A: Yes. Full vaccination means a person has received all the required doses of an FDA-authorized COVID -19 vaccine (two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnston vaccine) or a WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series, and 14 days have passed since the final dose.

Q: Can I still attend the Global Congress if I’m partially vaccinated?

A: Attendees who are not yet fully vaccinated and have only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or are not yet beyond the two-week fully vaccinated window minimum, must still provide a negative clinically administered COVID-19 test for entry.

Q: Do I need to bring my actual vaccine card?

A: In addition to your official CDC-issued or country of origin vaccination card, a photo or digital version of your official vaccine card with your name and dates of doses, including the date the last dose was administered printed on the card, will also be accepted. We highly encourage attendees to take a photo of your vaccine card and be ready to present it on your phone to our staff on-site.

Q: What types of clinically administered COVID-19 tests will be accepted?

A: Showing digital or printed documentation of a negative molecular test (also called a PCR test) or antigen test (also called a rapid test) within the 72 hours prior to arrival at the Austin Convention Center qualifies as an alternative to proof of full vaccination. Documentation must be from a testing agent such as a laboratory, health care provider, or pharmacy. Self-administered rapid tests will not be accepted.

Q: What if I cannot be vaccinated for medical/religious reasons or have children who are not yet eligible?

A: Attendees without proof of vaccination must display a negative clinically administered COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival at the Austin Convention Center to be granted entry into the Congress.

Q: Where can I get a COVID-19 test in Austin?

A: If you are not vaccinated then proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required. For those traveling from out of the country a negative test result from your country of origin taken within 72 hours of your arrival is required. When returning to your country of origin you may be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The following is a list of testing locations conveniently located near the Austin Convention Center:

Downtown Doctor – Freeman Medical Clinic
1611 W. 5th Street
Phone: 512-391-9400
https://freemanmedicalclinic.com/

Walgreen’s Pharmacy
https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing?ban=covid_vanity_testing

Two Locations:
2501 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, 512-443-7534

1920 E RIVERSIDE DR, Austin, TX 78741, 512-326-5228

CVS Pharmacy
https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/clinic-locator/tx/austin/coronavirus-testing.html
2610 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, 512- 477-1261

AAGL continues to work closely with the Austin Convention Center, City of Austin, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, vendors and hotels to create a COVID-19 safety plan for this year’s meeting which will continue to evolve, incorporating any features and updates that will further enhance the onsite experience and safety for everyone in attendance. AAGL will also continue to monitor the current health situation and update this information as needed.

Additional resources and updates:

Personal Accountability Statement (updated 8/23/21)

By attending and participating in person for the AAGL 50th Global Congress on MIGS, November 14-17, 2021 in Austin, TX, you agree to abide by and engage in certain health-and-safety-beneficial conduct while attending the event. This may include submitting to CDC health assessment check, wearing a mask and engaging in appropriate physical distancing.  As of 11/6:  Mandatory mask policy in effect and COVID Vaccination or Negative PCR test must be submitted on-site before getting your badge and credentials.  We ask you do not attend the event if you are ill or have been recently exposed or experience symptoms of COVID-19.

On-site Safety Precautions

These include but are not limited to the following:

  • All in-person attendees, exhibitors, faculty, guests and staff must provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID test, to participate in this year’s Congress.
  • All in-person attendees, exhibitors, faculty and staff are required to wear a mask while attending all AAGL Congress activities. Plan on bringing a mask to the meeting. If a mask is misplaced or forgotten, one will be provided.
  • Refrain from attending any meeting activities if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you may have been recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the Austin Convention Center, exhibit hall and at the hotels.
  • All are requested to follow appropriate social distancing practices and remain 6 feet apart from others. AAGL will continue to work with the Austin Convention Center to ensure that the AAGL Global Congress complies with state and local physical distancing requirements throughout the meeting spaces and the exhibit hall.
  • Frequent hand washing by all is encouraged.
  • Restrooms will be regularly and thoroughly disinfected during event hours.
  • A daily and frequent disinfecting routine will be followed throughout the Austin Convention Center in meeting spaces, during event hours, overnight, and during peak attendance, and include “frequently touched” equipment, machines, meeting spaces, chairs and public areas.
  • Trash will be removed within public areas with greater frequency.

Exhibitor Recommended Best Practices

AAGL is providing these best practices for exhibitors to maintain health and safety guidelines during Exhibit hall hours:

  • All exhibitors must provide proof of vaccination or negative Covid test to participate in this year’s Congress.
  • Exhibitor personnel (and all attendees) are required to wear masks.
  • Practice safe distancing inside booth areas.
  • Utilizing and positioning seating to accommodate for social distancing.
  • Providing hand sanitizer in booths.
  • If serving food, by working with the Austin Convention Center official catering provider, to ensure proper food safety and handling are followed.

The City of Austin Is Ready to Welcome You Back – Safely!

Information on COVID-19 resources in the city of Austin can be found on the Visit Austin Health and Safety page, which is updated regularly as additional information from community partners is collected.  Additional COVID resources:

The Austin Convention Center

The Austin Convention Center has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. The CNS will follow the dedicated action plan for the Austin Convention Center and adhere to guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control, the city of Austin, and the state of Texas. More detail is listed below.

Austin Convention Center Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ Accreditation

The Austin Convention Center has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. Under the guidance of GBAC, a Division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, the Austin Convention Center Department has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention for the facility. GBAC rating is the gold standard for prepared facilities. The CNS will follow the dedicated action plan for the Austin Convention Center and adhere to guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control, the city of Austin, and the state of Texas. More detail is listed below.

As the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation, GBAC STAR™ helps organizations establish protocols and procedures, offers expert-led training, and assesses a facility’s readiness for biorisk situations. The program will verify that the Austin Convention Center Department is implementing best practices to prepare the staff and buildings for future meetings and events.

“The GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation is a performance-based program that certifies that the Austin Convention Center continues to protect our staff and visitors, as we are equipped and ready to safely welcome back in-person events,” said Trisha Tatro, Austin Convention Center Department Interim Director. “Our staff has worked extremely hard to operate using specific procedures and protocols to best prepare, protect, and recover from outbreaks and pandemics.”

To achieve GBAC STAR™ accreditation, the Austin Convention Center will demonstrate compliance with the program’s 20 core elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures. Learn more about GBAC STAR accreditation at www.gbac.org.

Along with reaching a higher level of cleaning and disinfection, the Austin Convention Center Department has purchased new sanitation equipment and uses the following products:

  • Stearns® ONE PACKS Mark E II Disinfectant/Deodorizer and multipurpose, neutral pH, hospital-grade quaternary, a one-step germicide, detergent, deodorizer, fungicide, and virucide
  • Four Sentry 4 UV stand-alone disinfection machines that emit full spectrum UV light to eliminate up to 99.9% of the bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the space, and limit the growth of fungi
  • Handheld electrostatic sprayers: Victory Sprayers’ patented technology provides an electrical charge to solutions, allowing them to wrap conductive surfaces with an effective and even coverage; these machines reduce cross-contamination due to their touchless application
  • Equipment will be sanitized before the start of each event and at the end of each day
  • Handwashing stations will be available to use in the exhibit halls and on the loading dock
  • Hand sanitizer stations have been increased and include foot-operated stands for use in the back areas of the facility during move-ins and entries to the center.

Global  Congress Hotel Partners Commitment to Clean Statements:

JW Marriott/Marriott Austin: https://clean.marriott.com/
Hilton: https://meetings.hilton.com/eventready
Hyatt Place: https://www.hyatt.com/info/global-care-and-cleanliness-commitment