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.


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.

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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.

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Thomas Shey

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).

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