Health and safety for SPIE Photonics West

We actively track and follow health and safety guidance from San Francisco authorities in preparation for Photonics West. Based on current registration we anticipate 11,000 attendees and nearly 1,000 companies joining for in person presentations, exhibits, and discussions. All staff, vendors, and attendees must be vaccinated, without exception (booster vaccinations encouraged), and masks are required. The Moscone Center has updated its HVAC systems for increased airflow, and we are utilizing the large space to provide social-distancing in support of a safe meeting. Check this page for up-to-date information. Last update: 20 January 2022

San Francisco is identified as a safe city

With more than 80% of the city being vaccinated, plus 100% of people inside the Moscone Center being vaccinated, we hope you’ll feel confident joining your community in January for SPIE Photonics West.

Masked woman navigates the Moscone Center at SPIE Photonics West

Proof of vaccination and masks will be required for everyone at Photonics West 2022

SPIE and our event partners aim to provide a safe event for all attendees. All event participants are expected to understand and follow the safe event requirements outlined below.

Learn more:

SPIE safe meeting protocols

This page reflects current rules and expectations and will be kept up to date as any requirements change.

  • SPIE will follow the latest published requirements and safe gathering protocols established in the location where each event occurs
  • Among national, state, local, or facility-specific rules or recommendations SPIE will abide by the most restrictive of them
  • Event policies may change if local, state, or federal rules change prior to or during an event

Health and safety: what to expect at SPIE Photonics West

As an event with more than 1,000 attendees taking place in San Francisco, Photonics West will comply with the San Francisco mandate COVID-19 Health Order C19-07y

Expectations for all attendees:

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all attendees, vendors, and staff (see more details below)
  • Masks will be mandatory for all indoor spaces

Enhanced sanitation measures will be taken throughout the event:

  • Masks and hand sanitizers will be widely available for free
  • Conference rooms will allow for social distancing to the extent possible.
  • The Moscone Center uses MERV 13 pocket filters with MERV 8 pre-filters. Moscone has also optimized HVAC systems to provide the maximum number of air exchanges per hour in each space.

Proof of vaccination

Proof of vaccination with ID is mandatory to enter the Moscone Center. Vaccines authorized to prevent COVID-19 by the US FDA or by the World Health Organization (WHO) will satisfy the City of San Francisco requirements.

Examples of acceptable vaccination proof include:

  • Mobile app designed to upload and prove vaccination, such as CLEAR, Safe Expo, or an app designated by your home region—all will suffice if the proof of vaccination is easy to confirm
  • Physical vaccination card
  • Photo of a vaccination card

Booster shots are not required to be considered vaccinated. A negative COVID test is not a replacement for a COVID vaccination. Exemptions are not accepted. 

When you arrive at the Moscone Center

SPIE has chosen an entry and proof of vaccination protocol that balances safety and convenience. Proof of vaccination and ID will be checked at the door. After showing proof, you may proceed to the registration area to pick up your badge. Signs will be posted with instructions, and we ask for your patience as we move people into the building. 

Tips to be prepared and expedite your entrance:

  • Wear your mask
  • Have proof of vaccination and identification in hand
  • Follow the instructions to pick up your badge

Onsite testing

COVID Testing
Room 114, North Lobby
Saturday        7:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Moscone West, First Aid Office (entrance near Howard Street)
Sunday           9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday          7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday          7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday     7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday         7:30 AM - 6:00 PM

SPIE has arranged with CrowdRx to provide COVID testing.

International travelers should check with their airline to determine testing requirements before their departure flight.

Schedule your appointment


Plan ahead:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday will be the busiest testing days; appointments are recommended
  • Walk-in testing will be available on a first-come, first-served basis

Test costs

  • PCR test = $125
  • Antigen test = $25

Results will be sent by email within 12-24 hours. If you have a positive test result, CrowdRx will provide further information and locations for follow-up testing.

Find other testing locations

The City of San Francisco recommends that any time you feel sick or have a known exposure, get tested. You can find a map of free and paid testing options throughout the city. 

How we can all help

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Test for Covid-19 within 24 hours prior to entering the event venue
  • Respect the personal space and comfort level of others
  • Do not attend if you are not feeling well
  • Follow the guidelines from the San Francisco Public Health Department and CDC on quarantine

We encourage you to get tested if required for travel, have known exposure, or have symptoms following CDC and San Francisco Public Health guidelines. To help us share information, please use our online reporting form and let us know if you test positive for COVID during or within the five days following your attendance of either Photonics West or AR|VR|MR.

Traveling to the United States

For information on traveling to the United States, please visit the Hotel and Travel page.

What to expect when out and about in San Francisco

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to go inside area restaurants, bars, and businesses
  • Masks are required for all indoor activities, except when eating
  • Local area mandates and requirements are respected by locals and visitors, C19-07-Safer-Return-Together-Health-Order.pdf

Frequently asked questions

An individual is considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine; or
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an “active” (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart*

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are not considered fully vaccinated.

Booster shots are not currently required to be considered fully vaccinated.

*For the purpose of interpreting vaccination records for travel to the United States, CDC will accept combinations of accepted COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccines recognized by the WHO that were administered in accordance with their recommended use will be accepted. Review the list

Per San Francisco guidelines, currently there are no exemptions available for anyone attending large events—including chairs, presenters, attendees, and exhibitors. All participants must be vaccinated.

Per San Francisco guidelines, a negative COVID-19 test will not meet the requirements to attend. All participants must be vaccinated.

Photonics West dates to keep in mind if you are considering getting vaccinated in time for the event (note your specific milestone dates may be different depending on your travel dates).

Last dates for first dose of two-dose vaccine 18-22 December
Last date to receive one-dose vaccine or second dose of two-dose vaccine 8 January
First date of event 22 January