Today’s Coronavirus convention news comes in the form of a few actual announcements and a whole lot of chatter about other upcoming cons.
For more up-to-date Coronavirus (COVID-19) related convention news and theme park closure announcements, please check out our Coronavirus Theme Park and Convention Impacts page. All updates, both official announcements from the conventions themselves as well as news from vendors and exhibitors, will be included on that page.
The first convention news we have today is an official change in procedure from Creation Entertainment’s Salute to Supernatural: Las Vegas convention coming up March 5th-8th. In an effort to protect their guests, they will be implementing a ‘touch-free’ policy during photo ops, among other social distancing precautions.
This is an excerpt from their announcement:
Creation has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) and will be taking steps to help protect the health and safety of our attendees, celebrities and staff. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the convention as well as information from the CDC about how to protect yourself against the virus will be posted.
Due to the sensitive nature of this virus, SPN Las Vegas will be a “touch-free” event. Shaking hands, hugging, asking to hold props and physical contact with the actors will not be permitted. Please also don’t bring the actors any letters, cards or gifts, as we will not be able to accept them.
There are currently no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Nevada, though there have been numerous reports in adjacent California and Arizona. Additionally, as with most conventions, many people will be traveling from outside the region to attend the event, so statistics about a specific state’s current outbreak situation could be moot.
Fans have reacted to this change by encouraging the convention to cancel the convention or offer refunds to those who not wish to attend due to these restrictions or concerns about the virus. While many fans have been understanding about the efforts to contain the virus, they’ve questioned the decision to continue the con and justify the high prices of photo ops and autographs when the interaction with celebrities has been extremely reduced.
On the Emerald City Comic Con front, there’s growing concern about the region as a whole and not just specifically the con. Since the last update, they announced that they’ll going to be setting up opportunities for attendees to use hand sanitizer at the con, which is a good first step, but now many exhibitors and guests are beginning to pull out including Dark Horse and Penguin Random House.
Penguin Random House has come to the difficult decision to cancel its participation in ECCC due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. While this show is an important way for our staff and authors to connect with readers, the health and safety of everyone take priority.
— Del Rey Books (@DelReyBooks) March 3, 2020
Just a heads up about #ECCC – As a team, we’ve decided that we will not be attending Emerald City Comic Con due to the severity of the COVID-19 virus.
As a result, we’ll be trying to find a convention to attend later this year. Let us know where you’d like to see us!
— I Read Comic Books Podcast! 🔜 ECCC (@ircbpodcast) March 3, 2020
— Jen Bartel (@heyjenbartel) March 3, 2020
Important #ECCC2020 notice: Due to the severity of the COVID-19 virus, Dark Horse Comics has made the difficult decision to pull out of Emerald City Comic Con 2020. It is with the safety and well-being of our staff and creators in mind that we have come to this decision. 1/2
— Dark Horse Comics (@DarkHorseComics) March 3, 2020
— Cat Staggs C2E2 AA: A-9 🏳️🌈 (@CatStaggs) March 3, 2020
The following information I’ll be sharing about the outbreak in Washington state is not meant to contribute to fear-mongering, panic buying, or any sort of an overreaction. However, it is important to take these facts into consideration when it comes to looking at the current status of Washington, where Emerald City Comic Con will be taking place. If you plan on attending the con, please take it into consideration.
The situation in Washington State is extremely serious right now. At the time of this writing, all seven USA deaths attributed to COVID-19 have occurred in the state, one of whom was at a Seattle hospital. Reports available right now don’t confirm if he was a resident of the quarantined nursing home in Kirkland, or completely unrelated. As the facility was quarantined, I would assume it’s not related, but please wait for official reports for confirmation.
The virus could have been circulating in the state for a while before the first cases were detected, and testing has not been easy for Washington residents. More than two dozen firefighters have also been quarantined and panic buying is currently happening.
In east coast convention news, we have ACE Comic Con, which has thus far made no official announcements regarding changes to their event. However, popular artist BossLogic has tweeted his concerns and many fans have taken notice.
— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) March 3, 2020
Other fans have discussed potential impacts in places like their Facebook group and other social media platforms.
At the very least, they would most likely set up sanitizer stations like Emerald City Comic Con, or possible social distancing efforts like the Creation Con in Las Vegas. But right now there has been no official word on either effort and the show is scheduled to continue as normal.
The next ACE convention takes place in Boston from March 20th to the 22nd. The Geekiary will have two reporters at this convention and our current plans remain unchanged. There are currently two confirmed cases in Massachusetts.
In other convention news, we have an update to SXSW. Yesterday we reported that Twitter had pulled out of SXSW, but we’ve now been informed that Facebook has also pulled out. The petition to cancel the event has also grown significantly since our last post, with over 35,000 signatures and counting.
On the book fair side of things, while the London Book Fair is still going to happen even with major exhibitors pulling out, the Livre Paris Book Fair scheduled to take place on March 20-23 has been cancelled due to a government restriction on gatherings over 5,000 people.
This is the first Reed Exhibition event that we’ve noticed get cancelled so this is a fairly significant development in the con world. It seems that Reed has taken the approach to continue with their shows unless forced to do so by an outside force. The aforementioned Emerald City Comic Con is also a Reed Exhibition event.
As always, our Coronavirus Convention and Theme Park Impacts page will be updated with the information mentioned in this post. We are currently actively tracking the statuses of twelve conventions, including three that we plan to attend ourselves. We’ll be adding to the list as news comes out.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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