Health & Safety Guidelines
We are nice people and many of us and our fellow community members can’t attend without health and safety guidelines in place. We want PyCon US to be an event that everyone feels safe attending. PyCon US is exceptional in that we have people attending from all over the world—last year we had people attending from 75 different countries! We love that people bring their unique perspectives… but they also bring their local germs and Covid strains. We’re masking to keep our immuno-compromised friends safe at PyCon US and to ensure that those of us who share their homes with immuno-compromised people can also consider joining us without quarantining when they return home.
We are going to be doing some analysis on the airflow and refresh rates while we are in the convention center this year to see if there are some spaces that are well-ventilated enough to be indistinguishable from an outdoor situation for next PyCon US 2025. But for 2024, we are sticking with masking in all of the conference spaces.
We are asking you to wear a mask during your time at PyCon US. That includes talks, the expo hall, hallways and sprints. We are looking into providing a second eating area outdoors for attendees who would like that – for either the airflow or the vitamin D or both.
- Outdoor spaces
- Indoors while actively consuming food or beverages
- Speakers while presenting
- While necessary for communicating with someone who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
- Very briefly to take photos
Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth and must be made of a tight-knit, non-permeable material. N95 or equivalent masks such as KN95 or K95 are recommended. Alternatives to face coverings such as face shields, loose gaiters, scarves, bandanas, and face coverings with ventilation are not permitted to be used as masks. Although we encourage you to bring your own masks that you find comfortable, there will also be free masks available for attendees during each day of PyCon US, as supplies permit. (Want to be our Mask Sponsor? Get in touch!)
Attendees who are repeatedly unwilling to comply with the mask requirements will be asked to leave and are not eligible for a refund. Please don’t be “this person.”
We encourage PyCon US attendees to stay up to date with the vaccinations that are available to them where they live. We know that PyCon US attendees are coming from all over the world and the availability of current vaccines is extremely different from place to place. We encourage you to do your best.
This does represent a change from the most recent two PyCon US events; a verified vaccination status was required to attend both PyCon US 2022 and 2023. We have made the decision not to require vaccination for a few reasons, including the increasingly wide variation in availability and recommendations for vaccinations and boosters globally, changes over time in the relevance of vaccination status in risk calculation, as well as the significant cost of the verification procedure which we can redirect to other safety measures.
Like the rest of this policy, we may review this stance and consider adding additional precautions should the situation change (see final paragraph of this policy).
We encourage PyCon US attendees to use at-home/antigen/rapid tests before they arrive and while they are at PyCon US. We will be providing free additional rapid tests as supplies permit to anyone who needs them in the staff office.
We are going to continue investing in making PyCon US Online (#PyConOX) an excellent option for folks who don’t feel comfortable attending a masked event, or find travel to Pittsburgh inconvenient, or want to hang with the awesome PyConOX volunteer team, or who would prefer online for any reason at all.
We expect people to stay home if they may be contagious. If you are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or test positive for COVID-19, prior to the start of the conference, or on any day of the conference, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will exchange your ticket type for an online ticket or grant you a refund. Onsite attendees will be able to watch talks online while they recover, wait for the results of a Covid test or sort out any kind of unexpected allergy or “weird cold.”
We promise not to downgrade our Health & Safety policy between now and the event to allow community members to make decisions about attending with confidence that this policy won’t be weakened between when they buy a ticket or submit a talk and when the conference takes place. If there is a development that recommends an additional precaution then we will add it, but we will not be subtracting anything or softening our mask policy.