Covid Rules: GenCon Yes, Origins & UKGE No

Gen Con (August 4-7) has announced that masks and proof of vaccination will be required at the convention this year. At present, two of the other largest tabletop gaming conventions -- both of which are coming next month -- currently have no COVID restrictions.

UKge.png

Origins Game Fair (June 8-12) has dropped its mask mandate, saying that masks this year are recommended but not mandatory. This announcement came just three days before the May 2 deadline to request refunds for attendee badges (with a 10% service fee) and after the cancelation window for vendors. After backlash to the announcement, GAMA (Game Manufacturer's Association, the tabletop gaming industry trade organization and the group behind Origins Game Fair) stated they would extend the rollover window for vendors until May 11, but the organization has not extended the refund deadline for attendees, which has now expired. This change in health and safety policy came just days before news broke that a convention volunteer at PAX East passed away due to a COVID-19 infection she received at that event.

UK Games Expo (June 3-5) is also not currently requiring masks or vaccines. The show's FAQ page has been removed, but it previously said "At present we do not expect that there will be a need to show covid status at the 2022 show but in event of a change we will publish the rules". Tim Burrell-Seward posted an email from UKGE Director Tony Haynes, who said "As we are not imposing any additional restrictions and this is well understood and accepted in the UK, there has been no need to publish any additional information". However, he does also say that the plans may change up until the week before the show.

In a further Twitter post, a user said that they had a long telephone conversation with Tony Haynes, and indicated that 2022's Health & Safety policy statement will be released 'probably next week' (this was last Thursday, May 11th). "A Health and Safety policy statement for the 2022 event will be released soon, "probably next week", and will be made in conjunction with the local council's direction (Solihull BC). That statement will not require proof of vaccination OR mandatory face coverings."

It was also confirmed during that call that sanitize stations will not be available in the trade halls, but that there are stations elsewhere in the NEC complex, including the entranceways to the halls. It was also confirmed that UKGE will allow exhibitors to enforce their own mask rules on their own booths/stands.

Other large events, such as E3, have been cancelled completely.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


log in or register to remove this ad

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Apparently, Origins has brought back the mask policy, per an email I just received.
Just came here to post that myself. Looks like they either started looking at the Franklin County trend or got an earful from vendors who were. or both.

But my chances of purchasing an event badge to Origins just increased substantially again! Just in time for the event registration system to open up this weekend too...
 

Absolutely, unfortunately. Masking was required for Gary Con, but it didn't take long for that requirement to completely crumble there. There were a few people going around checking mask wearing in the beginning, but that didn't seem to last long or have much of an effect.

My cynical expectation is that there'd be people acting like that no matter what.
 

Retreater

Legend
Absolutely, unfortunately. Masking was required for Gary Con, but it didn't take long for that requirement to completely crumble there. There were a few people going around checking mask wearing in the beginning, but that didn't seem to last long or have much of an effect.
We'd have the occasional person come into the gaming areas to nominally enforce it, just to give the appearance of following the guidelines. But they were serious about proof of vaccination to get your badge. And to gain admittance to the exhibit hall.
I think I would've felt better about not masking at GaryCon than I would at GenCon. It was fewer people, more spread out, and it was at a very low point in COVID infection rates. Granted, I followed the rules because that's the kind of guy I am.
GenCon (and Origins) have the potential to be super-spreader events, even with precautions taken.
 

Absolutely, unfortunately. Masking was required for Gary Con, but it didn't take long for that requirement to completely crumble there. There were a few people going around checking mask wearing in the beginning, but that didn't seem to last long or have much of an effect.

Unless you're going to do active enforcement--and expect some hostility, possibly serious to that--it happens everywhere.
 

MGibster

Legend
Absolutely, unfortunately. Masking was required for Gary Con, but it didn't take long for that requirement to completely crumble there. There were a few people going around checking mask wearing in the beginning, but that didn't seem to last long or have much of an effect.
For the most part, it was fairly easy for me to wear a mask because I was spending as little time around other people as I possibly could. Once I had my vaccination, I went to the local game store to play some Warhammer, and I have to admit it, I got a little annoyed once I had to wear my mask for a few hours straight. I can imagine a lot of people wanting to take their mask off as the convention fatigue starts to set.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
I understand the masking thing, I do. I'm fully vaccinated (waiting until I can get my 4th shot here). I understand why it's necessary and adhere to all masking policies. I also don't want to spend my vacation at a gaming convention and have to wear a mask all day. I don't think it's conducive for good irl play and also I just plain don't like them (who does?). Because of that, I've just made peace with the fact that I won't be going to any conventions until this is all under control ( I realize this is likely fully years away) and can, more or less, safely go without masks.

Plus, if you're concerned about the spread of COVID I don't see how, masking or no, you can attend a convention of this size. With what we know about the current virus now having that many people in one place, that close, regardless of masking and vaccination status will result in spread. Anybody remember the pictures of GenCon last year?
 

The scale of the cons are two separate things, absolutely, and the infection rates back in March were an order of magnitude lower.

Yeah, they said masks are required, so that's how I behaved while there. Also, because I wanted to do my part to keep the con safer.

We'd have the occasional person come into the gaming areas to nominally enforce it, just to give the appearance of following the guidelines. But they were serious about proof of vaccination to get your badge. And to gain admittance to the exhibit hall.
I think I would've felt better about not masking at GaryCon than I would at GenCon. It was fewer people, more spread out, and it was at a very low point in COVID infection rates. Granted, I followed the rules because that's the kind of guy I am.
GenCon (and Origins) have the potential to be super-spreader events, even with precautions taken.

That is the unfortunate reality that we've come to live in. I suspect mask compliance isn't going to be great at Origins.

Unless you're going to do active enforcement--and expect some hostility, possibly serious to that--it happens everywhere.

Until Gary Con, the most time I'd spent wearing a mask was probably an hour, since I work from home. A full day of wearing a mask didn't feel great by the time I hit that last game.

For the most part, it was fairly easy for me to wear a mask because I was spending as little time around other people as I possibly could. Once I had my vaccination, I went to the local game store to play some Warhammer, and I have to admit it, I got a little annoyed once I had to wear my mask for a few hours straight. I can imagine a lot of people wanting to take their mask off as the convention fatigue starts to set.

I'm reviewing the events and picking out a potential schedule, but I still remain unsure if I'll be comfortable at Origins.
 

jolt

Explorer
I'm going, and I'm very glad they reintroduced the mask mandate. I didn't go last year, but I talked to people and vendors who did and I'm fairly confident I can stay healthy. Everyone is my travel group has their shots and boosters. We're all going to be carrying around KN95 masks which we find fairly comfortable and are good for 40 hours each. We'll all be carrying pocket sized containers of hand disinfectant as well as Clorox wipes for tables and chairs (as there are always asshats who will deliberately sneeze on things and find the idea of spreading germs and a million plus people dying from a disease as "funny").
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
I'm going, and I'm very glad they reintroduced the mask mandate. I didn't go last year, but I talked to people and vendors who did and I'm fairly confident I can stay healthy. Everyone is my travel group has their shots and boosters. We're all going to be carrying around KN95 masks which we find fairly comfortable and are good for 40 hours each. We'll all be carrying pocket sized containers of hand disinfectant as well as Clorox wipes for tables and chairs (as there are always asshats who will deliberately sneeze on things and find the idea of spreading germs and a million plus people dying from a disease as "funny").
I don't think people purposefully sneezing on chairs would be even close to the top of my list of COVID concerns.

Exhibit A-Z:
Screenshot 2022-05-18 141500.png
 

Retreater

Legend
You just have to accept the risk if you go to one of these events. Sanitization theatrics won't save you. Masks mitigate some of the risk.
If you go to an event of 60,000+ people and IF there is a COVID spike, you've got a good chance of getting it. You should hope that you aren't a high risk (and that you don't transmit it to a loved one who is high risk).
But this pandemic will likely be with us for the rest of our lives. It comes down to enjoying life during the moments between the spikes and then trying to survive during the spikes. That will be what we are stuck with.
 

I'll just note that while its taking a while, and elements of COVID make it sticky (being a coronovirus and novel), it is exceedingly unlikely its relationship with humans, even given mutation, will stay in even its current mode for the rest of our lives (as compared to subsiding to an endemic illness).
 

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top