ICV2 INTERVIEW: COVID SAFETY AT GEN CON

https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49282/icv2-interview-covid-safety-gen-con

Given the rapidly changing pandemic situation nationally and in Indianapolis, we reached out to Gen Con with questions about how Covid safety is being handled at Gen Con Indy, which opens Thursday.  For context, Marion County, where Gen Indy is being held, has high rates of Covid transmission (522 new weekly cases per 100,000 population) and a high positivity rate (11.67%), according to the state of Indiana’s website.  Around 47% of county residents are vaccinated, below the national average of 55%.

Although there is no mask mandate in Marion County, Gen Con has instituted a mask requirement for the convention center, (see “Gen Con Reverses Course on Maskless Attendance“), and also plans a number of other safety measures (see “Gen Con Announces Updated On-Site Health Safety Protocols“).  A Gen Con spokesperson provided answers to our questions.

Why didn’t Gen Con institute a vaccination requirement, or a vaccination or negative test requirement, for attendees?
Throughout the pandemic we have been working closely with public-health officials in Indianapolis and following their guidance.  Due to the nature of our production schedule and sales cycle we had to make a decision on a proof of vaccination or negative test requirement very early in the summer.  At the time, there were very few precedents for proof of vaccination at large public events.  We are very supportive of vaccination and our internal polling indicates that over 90% of our attendees are vaccinated.

Who is responsible for enforcing Gen Con’s mask rule and other special precautions at the show, and how many of those people will there be?
Gen Con convention staff will enforce our mask rules, as they enforce all other rules of the convention.

How will those responsible handle people who refuse to properly mask?
We will take all necessary action to assure compliance with our rules, including removing non-compliant individuals from the convention center.

What safety measures will be taken to ensure social distancing while waiting in line at ticket windows, to get into the exhibit hall (especially at opening on the first day), and at booths at the show?
We are taking steps to mitigate crowding where possible, including moving opening ceremonies away from the exhibit hall opening, extra spacing at gaming tables in event areas, and other steps.  We have signs throughout the convention center encouraging social distancing.

At one point, Gen Con was going to offer wristbands to attendees with proof of vaccination.  Is that still the case (even though there’s no impact on masking, it could help attendees identify those with whom they want to game)?
We have chosen universal masking as the most effective safety measure we can implement at this time.

Will masks be required on the bridges to the convention center?
No.  We recommend attendees use street entrances to the convention center.

Has Gen Con negotiated with their hotel partners to require masks in common areas such as lobbies and elevators?
We are working closely with Visit Indy and our hotel partners to encourage mask wearing in all hotel common areas; however, each hotel will implement their own policies.  Gen Con rules will be enforced in all Gen Con-controlled hotel spaces.

What support has the City of Indianapolis offered Gen Con to help with COVID-19 safety protocols?
The city has been very proactive in connecting us with Marion County Public Health and other resources to ensure that Gen Con is operated as safely as possible under the circumstances, and to encourage safety policies in those areas of the city outside of our direct control.

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