Update on COVID-19 and our policies going into the show. On July 27th the CDC released new directives on how the US should be handling the spread of COVID and in particular the Delta Variant. The main key takeaway from the release from the CDC was this statement “To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” They also provided a map of the US to allow you to track where your area is in terms of Low to High risk [link: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view].
We have waited till the Monday before the event to make our final decision on the steps we will take to make sure everyone stays safe at our event. With the latest maps showing not only Maricopa County, but the entire state of Arizona in High we have no option but to require all attendees, regardless of vaccination status, over the age of 5 to wear a mask to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as keep everyone safe. For those in attendance that can not wear a mask for health reasons we ask that you wear a face shield [If you do not own a face shield we will have some to purchase at registration for $2]. We will also provide normal face masks at registration at no cost in the event you forgot or lost yours.
We will also be enforcing the mask mandate during the event to ensure everyone stays safe. If a staff member sees you in our event space not wearing your mask you will be asked to put your mask on. If you are warned additional times to put your mask on you may be asked to leave the event and no refund will be given for your badge. We will do our best on when a badge should be marked for a warning and would only mark badges in the event the mask was not worn intentionally. The last thing we want to do is remove someone from the event and cause undo stress for forgetting to put a mask on. There will be a designated eating area on the 4th floor [Valley Overlook] outside where you can remove your mask to eat. [Examples of when you can remove your mask include, but not limited to: taking photos at the photo booth, a panelist at the front of the room running a panel, and masquerade during judging or performing on the stage]
We are also taking extra steps to ensure our space is cleaned regularly. We, and the hotel, will be using electrostatic sprayers to sanitize panel rooms regularly and the hotel is also adding sanitation stations throughout the event and is increasing the frequency of restroom cleaning. The hotel has also increased the ventilation of the public areas and restrooms with higher efficiency filters and pulling in more air from outside.
If you choose to not attend this year now due to this updated policy we will be allowing anyone after the show ends to request their badge be rolled to 2022 if you didn’t use it this year. All you will need to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org after September 7th with the email you used to purchase your badge and request your purchases be rolled to our 2022 event.