With strong public health protocols in place, we look forward to welcoming you to WEFTEC 2021, October 16 to 20.


The situation with COVID-19 and the variants is constantly changing. The one thing that has not changed is the Water Environment Federation’s commitment to the health and safety of our members and the broader water sector.

Because of this unwavering commitment to protecting and preserving public health, every individual who participates in WEFTEC 2021 in Chicago will be required to:

1. Provide proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

  • This can be done either in advance (DEADLINE: 5:00 pm EDT October 8!) by uploading an image of vaccination documentation to Safe Expo's secure portal or onsite by presenting a hard copy of your documentation to a Safe Expo representative for verification.
  • Copies of vaccination documentation uploaded in advance are NOT stored. Once verified, the images are deleted.
  • WEF will NOT have access to your health information.


2. Provide proof they obtained a negative COVID-19 test result within 48-hours of arriving at registration to pickup their badge.

  • Test results will be verified onsite only.


3. Wear a well-fitting, properly positioned face mask when visiting the exhibition, attending sessions and meetings, riding shuttle buses, and engaging with other participants at WEFTEC functions.

The City of Chicago and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced effective August 20, 2021, that face masks are required in all indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status. The CDC also recommends people wear face masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of coronavirus variants and to help protect each other.

MORE BELOW (scroll down): complete Right of Entry – Verification Process and Face Mask information, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Please check back here frequently for future updates. We recognize that the situation and prevailing laws, regulations, recommendations, and guidelines issued by the United States (federal), the State of Illinois, Cook County, and the City of Chicago governments, authorities and health agencies may continue to evolve through WEFTEC 2021. For example, several U.S. cities have recently implemented vaccination mandates for public gatherings like WEFTEC.  If the City of Chicago implements a vaccine mandate, WEF will comply with those terms.  Preparation for this scenario is another reason we strongly encourage all WEFTEC 2021 participants to get vaccinated well ahead of WEFTEC.

We thank you for your commitment to protecting the health and well-being of your fellow WEFTEC participants and look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

Resources to assist you with your travel, health and safety inquires:

If you are traveling to Chicago from outside of the continental U.S., please review and note the requirements and restrictions that may impact your plans:

Right of Entry - Verification Process

To satisfy the WEFTEC 2021 Right of Entry requirement, each participant must do one of the following to gain access to the conference and exhibition. WEF has partnered with Safe Expo to manage the verification process.

Option 1: Provide Proof of Full Vaccination either in Advance or Onsite

In Advance - Upload your proof of vaccination to Safe Expo’s Advance Vaccine Verification portal (DEADLINE: 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, October 8).

  • Upload a photo image of your CDC-issued vaccination record card or other documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider.
  • For your privacy, Safe Expo WILL NOT keep a copy of your vaccination card/documentation. Once approved, the image will be deleted.
  • If all criteria are met, you will receive a Vaccine Verified e-mail from Safe Expo with a “Purple Pass” attachment.
  • Be prepared to show your Vaccine Verified “Purple Pass” (digital or printed copy) to a Safe Expo representative onsite before you pick up your badge.


Onsite - Bring your proof of vaccination to a Safe Expo onsite verification station (available October 13 through October 20).

Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s)  guidance, people are considered “fully vaccinated” either 2 weeks after they receive their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after they receive their single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. If you do not meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated.

Option 2: Bring Proof of a Negative COVID-19 Test Result Onsite for Verification

  • Test results must be obtained within 48-hours of arriving at registration to pick up your badge. For example:
    • Exhibitors that plan to pick up their badge on Friday, October 15, for weekend booth set-up need to be tested and receive proof of a negative result on Wednesday, October 13; Thursday, October 14; or before they arrive to pick up their badge on Friday.
    • Workshop participants that plan to pick up their badge on Saturday afternoon, October 16, need to be tested and receive proof of a negative result on Thursday, October 14; Friday, October 15; or before they arrive to pick up their badge on Saturday afternoon.
    • Attendees that plan to pick up their badge on Monday morning, October 18, before the Opening General Session need to be tested and receive proof of a negative result on Saturday, October 16; Sunday, October 17; or before they arrive to pick up their badge on Monday morning.
  • Rapid Antigen or Rapid Molecular (PCR) test results generated from an official medical agency/clinic are acceptable.
  • Antibody tests are NOT acceptable.

Photo ID is required for both Safe Expo onsite verification and WEFTEC badge pickup. 

Safe Expo verification stations will be located near badge pickup/registration at McCormick Place, the Hilton Chicago, the Hyatt Regency Chicago, and the Sheraton Grand Chicago. Once cleared by Safe Expo, participants will be able to proceed to a badge pickup counter and receive their badge.

Once a participant has received their WEFTEC badge, they will have satisfied the Right of Entry requirements and will be able to move freely about the conference and exhibition.


Learn more about Safe Expo, an event support organization focusing on health and safety monitoring and vaccine credential assessment.

Face Masks

In alignment with the City of Chicago’s current face mask requirement and CDC face mask guidance, all WEFTEC 2021 participants are required to wear a well-fitting, properly positioned face mask while indoors visiting the exhibition, attending sessions and meetings, riding shuttle buses, and engaging with other participants. Face masks can be removed for eating/drinking.

Participants are expected to bring their own face mask(s). Limited quantities of disposable masks will be provided if needed.

Some participants will be exempt from the requirement to wear a face mask, including but not limited to people with disabilities who cannot wear a face mask or cannot safely wear a face mask for reasons related to their disability.

If governments or health authorities are advising the use of additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as eye coverings or gloves, we will advise participants accordingly so they can come prepared.

Onsite COVID-19 Testing

WEF is partnering with Safe Expo to offer COVID-19 tests as a convenience for participants that wish to or need to be tested prior to returning home.

Safe Expo will operate an onsite Testing Suite by appointment beginning Friday, October 15, through Wednesday, October 20:

COVID-19 Testing Suite | McCormick Place - Room S101b

  • Friday, October 15 | 1:00pm - 6:00pm CT
  • Saturday-Tuesday, October 16-19 | 8:00am - 6:00pm CT
  • Wednesday, October 20 | 8:00am - 5:00pm CT

Testing will be available at cost, payable by credit card at time of testing:

  • US$50 Rapid Antigen test
  • US$150 Rapid Molecular (PCR) test

Test results will be available within 30-60 minutes of your testing appointment.


Make an Appointment

Planning for Change

While much has changed in the world around us, what has not changed is WEF’s commitment to the health and safety of our members, customers, exhibitors, sponsors, industry partners, service suppliers and staff. Here is what we are doing at-a-glance to protect your health and peace of mind so you can connect, learn, and do business safely in person.

  • COVID-19 Vaccination or Negative COVID-19 Test Result Required: all participants are required to provide proof that they either are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or received a negative COVID-19 test result within 48-hours of badge pickup to gain entry to the conference and exhibition.
  • Face Masks Required: face masks are required while indoors visiting the exhibition, attending sessions and meetings, riding shuttle buses, and engaging with other participants, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Cleaning: Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout McCormick Place. Expect extended 45-minute to 1-hour breaks between sessions to allow for air circulation and cleaning. All high-touch areas will be placed on a visible continual cleaning and disinfecting routine during event hours and overnight.
  • Physical Distance: exhibition floor plans have been adjusted to enable everyone to maintain physical distance. This includes wider aisles, added spacing between inline booths, and increased space in concession and other seating areas. In session and meeting rooms, chairs and tables will be spaced according to prevailing physical distancing guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is WEF requiring proof of either COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test result for WEFTEC 2021 participants?

After careful consideration and consultation with internal and external stakeholders, WEF has determined that WEFTEC 2021 can be the most safe, enjoyable, and interactive conference possible by requiring proof of either vaccination or a recent negative test result for entry.


Who should I contact if I want to cancel my in-person participation?


Will I receive a refund if I cancel my in-person participation?


Who do I contact if I am having issues with uploading documentation to Safe Expo’s advance Vaccine Verification portal?

E-mail [email protected] if you are having trouble using their WEFTEC 2021 Vaccine Verification portal.


Is WEF collecting, storing, or processing my vaccination or test result information?

No. As outlined in the Right of Entry – Verification Process section, WEF is partnering with Safe Expo to satisfy the verification of vaccination or recent negative test result requirement for participants. WEF, itself, will not be collecting or maintaining information about participants’ vaccination status or test results.

WEF will not receive information about an individual’s private health data from Safe Expo. WEF will receive reports from Safe Expo that include the names of individuals who have completed the Safe Expo verification process and the date/time of their Safe Expo verification to validate their right of entry.


What if I have known exposure risk before coming?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have reason to believe you currently have COVID-19, you should NOT attend the conference, including if these conditions emerge while you are in Chicago. If you have reason to believe you have recently been exposed to COVID-19, please consult your physician to determine appropriate next steps. WEF encourages all individuals to follow applicable guidance from their care providers and relevant public health authorities.

We expect all individuals will think carefully about any risk they may pose to others and make informed choices about travel, as well as onsite and external engagement.


How are you going to ensure people stick to the rules?

Everyone is required to read and accept a WEF General and COVID Waiver when they register to participate in WEFTEC 2021.

Health and wellbeing expectations, protocols, and standards are being communicated to all participants in advance.

In Chicago, signage and floor markings will be displayed throughout McCormick Place to remind everyone to wear a face mask and to maintain physical distance, as well as to alert them to cleanliness and hygiene expectations for all participants.

Participants can report any concerns to the onsite Conference Management Office (room N427b).


Can you guarantee my wellbeing during WEFTEC 2021?

No environment or space inside or outside of the home can ever be 100% safe. Through measures such as getting vaccinated, wearing face masks, enhancing cleaning and disinfection, and distancing and crowd management, WEF and our event production partners will work to maintain a healthy, hygienic, and enjoyable event experience for everyone involved.

Our goal is to earn your confidence that we are taking proper precautions, so that you can connect, learn, and do business safely in person.