We are saddened to announce that we must cancel the in-person #Sensible2020 Conference + Lobby Day and transition the event to a virtual conference to take place in April or May. Yesterday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people and it was announced that federal Capitol buildings would be closed to visitors through April 1 in an effort to slow the advance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The considerations informing that order echo our own: while such decisions can be tremendously disruptive, it is incumbent on us to think about our communities and flatten the curve of transmissions to spread out the burden on health care systems. Though we can’t meet in person this year, we are committed to delivering the same high-quality content, and are working diligently to make sure #Sensible2020: SSDP’s Virtual Conference is just as compelling to attend.
In the meantime, please read and distribute our COVID-19 Global Harm Reduction Alert for People Who Use Drugs. Visit this site next week to learn more about alternate plans for conference content, the People of Color gathering, Lobby Day, Congress, and more. Early next week, we’ll be sending another message with details for each. If you are a speaker or sponsor, you can expect to hear from your SSDP contact early next week to confirm your participation in the virtual conference.
Registration fees for participants will continue to be refunded upon request. Event costs already incurred cannot be recouped and the virtual conference will incur expenses, so if you don’t request a full refund, remaining registration fees will be converted to a tax-deductible donation to SSDP’s general fund and you will be listed as a supporter of the virtual conference. If you did not pay for your registration, you do not need to take any action. If you paid for your conference registration, you may request a refund via Eventbrite until March 27 at 4:00pm EST. To request a partial refund, simply type a note in the “message” field stating the amount of the refund request.
Your SSDP International Team
Careful personal hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of viruses. The CDC and others recommend:
- Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating or touching your face
- Avoid touching objects, other people, and your face
- Think of your cell phone like a third hand – disinfect it regularly with alcohol wipes
- Regularly clean frequently touched objects with alcohol or household cleaner
- Maintain about 6 feet of distance between people. Replace hugs and handshakes with waves. Skip the cuddle puddle.
- Don’t share cups, utensils, or straws with others. (Always great advice!)
- While smoking cannabis is not permitted inside the hotel nor outdoors, smokers should be careful to not share cigarettes or smoking devices or touch items that have been in someone else’s mouth.
Airline tickets may be refundable or used for later travel. If you booked on Southwest, you can always cancel your flight and use the funds toward any other flight within 1 year. For other airlines, we’re providing links to their COVID pages.
If your airline requires proof of event cancellation to issue a refund or travel credit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Most airlines are waiving change fees for, at minimum, some international passengers:
- Aerlingus – no-fee rebooking for tickets purchased after 3/6
- American – no change fee if ticket booked before 3/1
- Alaska – no cancel fees for tickets purchased before 3/31
- Delta -no change fees for flights scheduled between 3/1-4/30
- Frontier– no change fees for flights between 3/10-4/30
- Jet Blue -no cancel/change fees for flights between 3/10-4/30
- Lufthansa – no-fee rebooking for tickets purchased before 3/5
- Southwest – never charges a fee for rebooking
- Spirit – partial refund or 100% credit for new reservation
- United – no change fees for flights between 3/9-4/30
- Amtrak – no change fees on bookings made through 4/30
- Megabus – no change fees for trips booked before 3/20, for travel before 4/30
Hotel rooms at the conference hotel are paid for when you arrive. If you booked your own room at the conference hotel, please follow the cancellation instructions. If SSDP booked your room, you don’t need to take action.