ATLANTA—SECO International  is open for SECO 2021, SECO's annual conference and marketplace, providing the optometric profession outstanding educational opportunities. This live, in-person event will take place April 28 to May 2 at the Georgia World Congress Center, with a Meet Safe plan to ensure safety measures for all attendees. In addition to live and in-person, there is an option to participate virtually. “SECO 2021 is looking forward to welcoming our attendees and exhibitors back to Atlanta,” said Max Raynor, president of SECO International.

“SECO was the last major event held in 2020, and we will be the first major event in 2021 to help lead the way of offering face-to-face networking and learning experiences. SECO is committed to creating an event experience where our participants can safely and effectively come together. We are taking extra precautions, beyond those mandated by local authorities and governmental agencies, including temperature checks and face masks required of all persons entering the Georgia World Congress Center,” he said.

SECO, with the assistance of local officials, has created a list of health measures it has in place and how attendees will play a role in helping to safely move forward with an in-person event. In addition to SECO’s safety protocols, the Georgia World Congress Center has implemented a program of stringent processes for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention under its GBAC STAR facility accreditation.

The expectations and enhanced safety measures include:

Before Arrival

• When attendees register for SECO 2021, there is a new option this year to purchase cancellation/refund insurance for the registration fee. With this insurance, attendees can cancel their registration until Wednesday, April 28, and receive a refund if they are ill or meet the other policy requirements.

• Attendees will complete a self-assessment and ensure they are symptom-free each day.

• Before attendees will be able to receive a badge up to 72 hours prior to the opening of SECO 2021, they will be asked to acknowledge and accept SECO’s Terms and Conditions, which includes a COVID-19 survey.

• Attendees will have a choice of a digital badge, printed badge from home, or a printed badge on-site.

• Attendees are asked to please make sure they have packed a face mask (or two!); this is required at all times. Children under the age of 2 are the only exception.

• There is an Emergency Action Plan in place, including an open line of communication with local health officials.

Arriving at SECO 2021

• SECO is taking additional health and safety measures at SECO 2021. Attendees should allow extra time when arriving at the Congress this year.

• Daily temperature screenings will be conducted before entering the Georgia World Congress Center each day for all attendees, exhibitors, and guests. After passing the temperature check and health screen survey, attendees will be provided with a wrist band.

• SECO 2021 has a no-contact policy in place. No handshakes or hugs this year, save them for SECO 2022 in New Orleans.

Inside the Congress

• Face masks must be worn inside the Congress at all times. Children under 2 are the only exception.

• Adherence to all recommended Health and Safety Measures including: Stay at least 6 feet from one another, washing hands often, covering coughs or sneezes, and stay home if you are sick.

• SECO has designed the Congress to allow for social distancing.

• SECO will remind all attendees to keep a safe distance from others with signage and general announcements.

• Seating areas will be properly distanced, and transparent shields will be placed at all concession stands.

• Daily disinfecting will take place to sanitize all seating, restrooms, and frequently touched public areas.

• If an attendee is feeling sick unexpectedly at the Congress, medical personnel will be on-site and available to help anyone feeling unwell.

The headquarter hotel, the Omni Hotel, is committed to the health and safety of its guests and associates. They have updated their cleaning guidelines and implemented additional processes and procedures for their guest’s and associate’s health, safety, and comfort. All processes and procedures listed below follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and adhere to local and/or federal mandates.

Protocols and guidelines from these authorities are expected to evolve, and as such, so will the Omni Hotel’s processes and procedures. Similarly, these guidelines meet or exceed the “Stay Safe” initiative set forth by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). To learn more click here.