ABA cancels some meetings due to coronavirus concerns

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The ABA is responding to concerns about the coronavirus by canceling some meetings.

One of the canceled meetings was a Health Law Section conference on emerging issues in health care, where one of the topics set for discussion was privacy and the coronavirus.

The meeting had been scheduled for Wednesday to Saturday in San Diego. It was canceled after California declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus, and several speakers and attendees canceled, according to the Health Law Section.

Several other meetings had also been canceled as of Wednesday afternoon. They are:

• The Criminal Justice Section’s 34th National Institute on White Collar Crime, originally scheduled for Wednesday to Friday in San Diego.

• The International Law Section’s Americas Conference on Reimagining Corporate Social Responsibility, originally scheduled for Wednesday to Friday in Costa Rica.

• The Bar Leadership Institute of the Division for Bar Services, originally scheduled for Wednesday to Friday in Chicago.

• The Section of Public Contract Law’s Federal Procurement Institute, originally scheduled for Wednesday to Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland.

• The Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s 20th National Trial Academy, originally scheduled for Saturday to March 18 in Reno, Nevada.

• The Section of Labor and Employment Law’s 2020 Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee Midwinter Meeting, originally scheduled for Tuesday to March 21 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

• The Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section’s IRIS 2020 Spring Council Group Meeting, originally scheduled for March 18-21 in Naples, Florida.

• The Business Law Section’s Spring Meeting, originally scheduled for March 26-28 in Boston.

• The Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s 2020 Workers Compensation Midwinter Conference, scheduled for March 27-28 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

• The Section of Taxation’s 20th Annual U.S. and Europe Tax Practice Trends Conference, originally scheduled for April 1-3 in Munich, Germany.

Future meeting cancellations will be noted here.

ABA Executive Director Jack Rives tells the ABA Journal the association expects a financial impact on non-dues revenue from meeting cancellations, but there is not enough data to report at this time.

ABA offices are currently open and visitors remain welcome, Rives told employees in an email on Tuesday. But people falling in three categories “are not permitted in our offices at this time, and are requested to postpone any desired visit,” Rives wrote in the email. The three categories are:

• Those who have been, within the past 14 days, in countries for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a level 2 or level 3 Travel Health Notice. Currently those countries are China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan.

• Those who have traveled internationally within the past 14 days and during that period have experienced symptoms associated with COVID-19, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

• Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are not yet cleared as non-contagious by state or local public health authorities.

Although ABA offices remain open, the association continues to monitor all factors closely, Rives said.

“I expect to follow guidance from the federal, state, district and local governments concerning keeping our offices open,” Rives said in the email to employees. “Of course, each of us must take reasonable precautions: We are enhancing cleaning and sanitizing procedures in our offices. I urge staff to practice social distancing and avoid clustering. Travel to coronavirus hotspots must be avoided. No staff will be required to travel if they have personal safety concerns.”

Rives told the ABA Journal he is not aware of any ABA employees who have been sickened by the coronavirus or quarantined because of potential exposure. Nor is he aware of any illness or quarantine by members of the ABA Board of Governors or House of Delegates.

Rives says he is taking the same precautions he has advised others to take.

“I wash my hands very frequently and I am careful when I around anyone who sneezes or coughs. I have not reduced my travel but I have begun to carry wipes and to wipe down various surfaces on aircraft in particular,” he said.

This story was updated March 11 to reflect several new cancellations.

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