Health and Safety

Disease Prevention and Protection

The US Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration ended on May 11, 2023, but SOT continues to monitor the advisories and guidelines of local, US, and world health advisory organizations. As such, the 2024 SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo will adhere to local and national health rules and guidance, as issued by governing bodies such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and the Salt Lake County Health Department. If those rules and guidance require specific policies and procedures associated with in-person meeting attendance, this web page and other Annual Meeting materials will be updated to inform registrants and potential registrants.

Salt Lake County and City Protections and Considerations for Social Issues of Potential Concern

The Salt Lake County Mayor’s Council on Diversity Affairs (CODA) has existed for nearly 20 years, and in November 2020, it issued an action plan containing “measurable action steps” to guide “work in eradicating systemic bias and institutional racism from Salt Lake County and its services.” As part of the action plan, this vision was shared: “OUR VISION is for Salt Lake County to be a place where EVERYONE has equitable access to opportunities; a place where we act intentionally to connect people of ALL BACKGROUNDS to achieve their highest civic and economic potential; and a place where we confront and address the historic, systemic RACIAL INEQUALITIES that continue to exist in our community. CODA believes in the equal and inherent value of ALL people.” Further, CODA is meant to provide support between the Mayor’s Office for New Americans and the Mayor’s Office for Diversity & Inclusion.

In 2020, the municipality joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, which is a “national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.” Salt Lake City also is a Certified Welcoming city by the Welcoming America organization. Per the Welcoming American website, “Certified Welcoming is a formal designation for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion.”

Finally, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issues regular proclamations recognizing various heritage, appreciation, and awareness days and months. Through July 2023, recognized communities, individuals, and events include Braille Day; Black History Month; Deaf History Month; International Transgender Day of Visibility; Autism Acceptance Month; Jewish American Heritage Month; Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; Pride Month; Immigrant Heritage Month; Disability Pride Month; and Muslim American Heritage Month.

A young individual is sitting on a brick wall, turned sideways toward an individual taking a picture. On the wall next to the seated individual is a pink neon sign reading Salt Lake City. Below the neon sign in black, 3D lettering is the phrase Is for Lovers.

Personal Safety and On-Site Security

Salt Lake City has taken a proactive step for pedestrian safety by installing containers holding brightly colored flags at each end of the city’s crosswalks. Pedestrians are encouraged to carry these flags while crossing, as they significantly enhance their visibility to drivers. Additionally, the simple act of holding a flag alerts drivers to the pedestrian’s intention to cross the street.

In addition to convention center personnel, SOT employs security staff to assist before and during the meeting. The personal safety tips outlined on this page are provided by these security experts.

Personal Safety

The best way to stay safe is to be aware of your surroundings and to avoid situations in which you feel uncomfortable. Travel “smart” when you leave Salt Palace Convention Center:

  • Take off your badge when you leave the convention center.
  • Avoid being distracted by your mobile phone, but make sure your phone is charged and never let strangers borrow it.
  • Establish a “buddy” system with another meeting attendee and don’t go anywhere alone. Also, share schedules and check on each other periodically.
  • Know your destination and the best way to reach it. Avoid shortcuts that take you into unoccupied and unlit areas.
  • Carry bags, purses, and valuables in front of your body. Jackets with pockets provide a convenient alternative to reduce the chance for lost or stolen handbags.
  • Be sure your laptop is in a secure place. Laptops are attractive and easy targets for thieves.
  • If you see something, say something! Report suspicious activity to authorities.
Three individuals are walking down a sidewalk toward the camera on a city sidewalk at night.

In Case of Protests

The possibility of demonstrators is very real given the nature of toxicology research. Events of this nature range from verbal confrontations, protests, and strikes to riots. Here are some safety tips in the event of demonstrations:

  • Identify yourself as an official meeting attendee by always wearing your name badge while in convention center or while attending official SOT events. Remove it when leaving an SOT meeting facility or activity.
  • If you see a demonstration or protest beginning, please contact any member of the SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo staff, and they will start the SOT response process. If you see actions that appear threatening, notify the nearest security officer.
  • Do not engage, defend either side, or subdue anyone in any type of disturbance. Demonstrators are usually trying to attract media attention. Don’t help them!
  • SOT representatives will respond to media inquiries. Do not participate in interviews or other media responses.
  • In the unlikely event that outsiders disrupt a Scientific Session or other event, SOT security officials have well-developed contingency plans in place. Please follow directions provided by the Session Chair or Co-Chair and avoid becoming involved in the situation.