The 2022 Specialty Coffee Expo and COVID: What You Need to Know

The city of Boston and the SCA are employing health precautions to make this year’s Expo as safe as possible.


Graphics courtesy of the Specialty Coffee Association

2022 marks the Specialty Coffee Association’s second return to an in-person expo since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, SCA re-routed the annual event to an online format in the wake of COVID-19, which was scheduled to be in Portland, Ore., that year. This past fall 2021, it returned in-person to New Orleans.

Boston’s Vaccine Mandate

Scheduled to take place April 7-9 in Boston, the 2022 Specialty Coffee Expo will be following the city’s current COVID-19 restrictions—which require proof of vaccination in order to enter any indoor public spaces (dining, bars, nightclubs, fitness, and entertainment-related). The city of Boston implemented this restriction on January 15 in the midst of increasing cases due to the Omicron variant. Under the vaccine restriction, any individual entering a public space can present the following to meet the vaccine mandate:

  • A CDC vaccination card
  • A digital image of your CDC card 
  • An image of any official immunization record
  • The City of Boston B Together app or any other COVID vaccine verification app

By the time Expo takes place, the city will have extended this policy to individuals ages 12 and older (and proof of at least one dose to children ages 5–11).

The SCA is implementing these restrictions during Expo 2022.

SCA’s Vaccine Mandate

In accordance with Boston’s vaccine mandate, the Expo will be complying with these restrictions, as well as requiring negative PCR tests within 72 hours of an attendee’s scheduled arrival. According to the SCA’s community experience officer, Vicente Partida, “Proof of full vaccination is required for all contractors, exhibitors, and attendees to enter the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in accordance with the City of Boston’s Vaccine Mandate, as of January 15, 2022. In addition to the City of Boston’s vaccination requirements, we at the SCA will require everyone to show proof of a negative PCR test when they collect their badge, valid within 72 hours, same as in NOLA.“ This will be checked daily for all attendees.

Given the city’s mandates on vaccines, there are minimal exemptions to this requirement. Certain medical conditions, disabilities, and civil rights-related reasons may make some attendees eligible for exemption upon approval by the Specialty Coffee Association and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. If granted, a negative PCR test must be presented every 48 hours in place of vaccine proof. This must be completed in advance by March 31.

Additional Safety Precautions

During the event, if attendees are not drinking or consuming food, they will be required to wear masks. Advanced registration is required too, as opposed to on-site registration, in order to ensure the above-mentioned restrictions can remain in effect. Groups are unable to pick up badges on behalf of other individuals, and exhibitors are required to have PPE kits on hand at their booths.

The SCA and Massachusetts Convention Center Authority are taking as many precautions as possible to ensure a safe and fun event for everyone involved. To get a full breakdown of every health measure, you can head here to read the list, which is getting updated regularly.

About Katrina Yentch 221 Articles
Katrina Yentch (she/her) is a freelance writer and Barista Magazine's Online Editor. When she's not writing, you can find her napping, cooking, and drinking whatever's on drip.