Emerald City Comic-Con reverses controversial mask policy for 2022 show in Seattle – GeekWire


Attendees of the 2019 Emerald City Comic Con browse through the booth space of Portland-based indie publisher Dark Horse Comics. (ECCC Image)

The organizers of the Emerald City Comic Con announced Thursday that they will reimplement a face covering requirement for this year’s show in Seattle.

This is a significant reversal of ECCC’s previous policy, which sparked backlash in June when organizers announced that masks were recommended, but not required for attendance.

Attendees of the annual comic book convention, scheduled to be held Aug. 18-22 at the Washington State Convention Center, will be now required to wear “approved face coverings” — intact, tightly-fit masks that fully cover the nose and mouth — throughout all areas of the show. The organizers are also “strongly recommending” that showgoers wear certified N95, KN95, or KN94 masks.

ECCC does not appear to be planning to check vaccine cards or recent COVID tests at the door for the 2022 show.

ECCC’s organizer, the event creation firm ReedPop, was careful to point out that its decisions were in alignment with King County’s current health and safety guidelines.

The national convention circuit has been eager to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic, and many shows across the country have similarly relaxed or outright eliminated their guidelines for attendees.

This year’s VidCon in Anaheim, Calif. was reportedly a full-on super-spreader event, while one of the “Enforcer” volunteer staff at this year’s PAX East show died of COVID shortly after the convention.

ECCC waited to announce its new COVID policies until, according to exhibitors, one day after its hard deadline for cancellations. For independent artists, many of whom make a significant amount of their annual income from the convention circuit, this left them with a choice between potential COVID exposure or taking a big financial hit from non-refundable fees.

For independent artists who may be financially affected by ECCC’s COVID policy, the Seattle-based online boutique Dual Wield Studios recently launched the Convention Artist Safety and Health (CASH) fund.

Artists and exhibitors who canceled their appearance at this year’s ECCC can fill out the CASH’s online form in order to exchange a single commission for any non-refundable costs they may have incurred. The initial $10,000 for the CASH fund was fronted by Dual Wield. Anyone interested in contributing to it can do so through purchasing a specific set of merchandise on Dual Wield’s online store.

Another Seattle-area show organized by ReedPop, the Penny Arcade Expo, is still scheduled to be held over Labor Day weekend at the WSCC. As of late May of this year, its organizers reportedly intend to implement the same health and safety regulations as PAX West had in 2021.


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