March 27, 2020 - Dear ASCRS Members and Annual Meeting Registrants,
As the result of the increasingly devastating effects of the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the Executive Committee of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons has concluded that it is not possible to hold the 2020 Annual Meeting originally scheduled for June 6-10, 2020, in Boston. Thus, the meeting has been cancelled.
Protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our members, attendees, patients and families was paramount in us making this decision. Over the last several weeks we have received notices from faculty nationwide who have been put on a travel ban from their institutions. Simply put, our physicians are, and will continue to be, needed in their local communities to address the needs of their patients in this time of crisis. Due to the limited number of faculty and other related factors, we are no longer able to host the high-caliber meeting that our attendees and exhibitors have come to expect.
Within the last 24 hours, we have learned that the Sheraton Boston, our annual meeting headquarters hotel, will be closed over our meeting dates. The Hynes Convention Center is currently shut down. The Boston metropolitan area has been hit hard by the virus, and members report that challenges in the northeastern U.S. will continue to expand.
Finally, as an organization of surgeons, we have a professional responsibility to model social distancing and not contribute to the spread of the virus through a large public gathering.
We will be in touch directly with those of you who have already registered for the meeting with details on refunds and additional options. Information for exhibitors, sponsors, and vendors will be forthcoming. For those who booked with the Sheraton, the hotel should be contacting you regarding cancellation. Those who have booked at one of the other hotels should contact the hotel directly to cancel your reservations. ASCRS is not able to cancel reservations or issue refunds at any of the hotels.
I want to thank the members of the Program Committee, and all of our faculty, staff, vendor partners, exhibitors and sponsors who have worked tirelessly in preparation for our annual meeting. We recognize canceling this meeting impacts many of you and your educational needs. While details are still under development, I look forward to sharing information with you in the near future about our plans for educational opportunities in 2020 and future years.
We realize you may have further questions. We are currently working on an FAQ to assist you. In the meantime please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and unwavering commitment to ASCRS.
Tracy L. Hull, MD
President, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons