COVID-19 Safety Letter

Are we meeting in person? Hear from Dr. Hepner, Chair of the Annual Meeting Oversight Committee, on our plans and protocols.

To my fellow peers, exhibitors, and industry partners,

As Chair of the Annual Meeting Oversight Committee (AMOC), I can assure you that the decision to hold an in-person event this year was made with your health and safety as our top priority.

On August 26-27, your ASA leadership and AMOC representatives went on a site visit to the Marriott Marquis Hotel and San Diego Convention Center (SDCC), our event venue. We are very fortunate that our meeting is planned for San Diego and it is clear the city and SDCC are ready to host ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2021. We are extremely satisfied with the safety protocols including mandatory masking and superior airflow at both buildings. The SDCC will be using all its outdoor terraces overlooking the bay for food and beverage and additional seating. In addition, SDCC has implemented a robust infection-prevention program. SDCC was one of the first convention centers in the United States to achieve the GBAC STAR facility accreditation, which requires stringent protocols for cleaning and disinfection. Other key precautions include social distancing guidelines at the convention center (and at the Marriott Marquis, our headquarter hotel), reducing maximum capacities in each room, and providing numerous options for outdoor seating at local restaurants. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is hosting 13,500 attendees this week at the SDCC. We also met with a representative of the San Diego Tourism Authority and they will work with us over the next several weeks to assure that we have access to restaurants and other venues with ample outdoor space. ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021 will be a wonderful social meeting beyond the educational sessions. As of the end of August, we have more 4,100 registrants with 90% registered for the live, in-person meeting.  

ASA staff is also putting many precautions in place to ensure a safe meeting for everyone. These include new scan-and-go badge pickup procedures and touchless ticketing for sessions. ASA is diligently following Centers for Disease Control and California state guidelines, laws, ordinances, and mandates in San Diego, and the planning team is closely monitoring health developments. COVID cases in San Diego are trending in the right direction.

This will be a terrific opportunity to attend your first major meeting in over a year to reconnect personally and professionally—and reignite our learning and advancement as a specialty. You will have the chance to once again engage with thousands of your peers from a variety of countries, including educators and representatives from the industry. As the world's foremost annual gathering in anesthesiology, ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021 will offer a variety of scientific and educational sessions that will renew, update, and expand your knowledge of new procedures and techniques in all subspecialty areas. 

We do understand, however, that some individuals have special circumstances to consider. For those who feel more comfortable attending the meeting virtually, we have created a stand-alone virtual track option featuring a small, curated selection of offerings you can watch at your convenience for up to 2 weeks post-meeting. Here's a more detailed breakdown of this year's meeting formats:

The Annual Meeting Oversight Committee and ASA staff have made significant enhancements to this fall's meeting and continue with ongoing strategic planning to improve and add value to 2021 and beyond. For more information, visit We look forward to connecting with you in San Diego.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updated information and assurance to members and registrants.  Click here to view the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021 Health and Safety Plan in its entirety. Please do not hesitate to contact me at with any questions or feedback.



David Hepner, MD, MPH, FASA
Chair, Annual Meeting Oversight Committee