Gen Con has released an update to its health and safety plans for Gen Con Indy 2021. According to their update, 87% of attendees who responded to a survey said they have been fully vaccinated and an additional 5% said they would be by convention time. Indiana where the convention takes place lags behind the country in vaccination rate. 42.9% of the population of the state is vaccinated compared to 48.2% of the entire country. It’s estimated a need for at least a 70% vaccination rate to reach herd immunity. Those 12 and under can not be immunized currently.
With that and “falling rates”, the convention has decided that:
- Mask-wearing at Gen Con will be strongly recommended at all times indoors or in crowded areas for all Gen Con attendees.
- Mask wearing will be required at all times for all unvaccinated persons.
- Vaccinated individuals that prefer not to wear a mask may present proof of vaccination and ID at one of the health check-in stations and receive a wrist bracelet indicating that they are vaccinated. While wearing a valid bracelet individuals are not required to wear a mask at Gen Con for the duration of the convention.
- If an individual has a documented medical reason that prevents them from wearing a mask or receiving a vaccination, they may present the medical documentation at a health check-in station to receive a bracelet.
- If someone has medical reasons that keep them from both wearing a mask and receiving a vaccine, they will need to go to the Special Services desk to get their wristband. Those are the only people authorized to give out wristbands for medical exemptions.
Other safety adjustments include:
- Reduced capacity at approximately 60% of normal size
- Increased spacing for all gaming tables
- Nightly closure of the convention center for cleaning and sanitizing
- More outdoor activations
With all the above, the convention has also decided to not to implement timed entry to the Exhibit Hall. Between a reduced number of attendees and the mask/proof of vaccination requirement, that normal operations for entry can happen. There are six entrances to choose from. There are also no limited exclusives at the show this year decreasing the need for individuals to rush and crowd the halls early.
The announcement by the convention has been received with mixed results. The Delta variant has shown it’s not only highly contagious and spreads far easier than the previous virus it can break through vaccinations. California has mandated masks again due to the spread of this virus variant. The likelihood of spreading without masks remains high and puts those who can’t get the vaccination and those who can not wear masks at higher risk if attending. It also puts pressure on security and others to now enforce mask mandates. While this would be an issue anyway, now they must look for a wristband to determine who may wear one making the task even more difficult. We’ve seen how individuals react protesting masks and to gain clout. As is, the work would be dangerous and now it’s more difficult.
Good luck to those going but we’ll be skipping this year ourselves, the first time in many years.