Ok, there’s a lot to unpack here so let's take it one step at a time. There seems to be a lot of misinformation circulating around this topic, especially as it relates to Anime Boston and the city/state/CDC guidelines.
Firstly and most importantly, I’d like to ask the community to please refrain from conjecture. Anything we have to say will be said. If you have questions, please ask us and we will answer. However, conjecture only leads to rumors and issues in communication. We are being especially careful in announcing these policies for a reason. This is not the last update we have on our COVID policy.
Second, at the time of this writing, we do not foresee these policies changing drastically by the time Anime Boston rolls around. Cases may be down at the moment, but the pandemic is not over yet. Anime Boston is still 3 months ahead and there is still time for the world to change completely. We must remain vigilant. In order to plan an event for what is typically 25k+ people, there needs to be stability in the guidelines so that no one is surprised by them. We gave this warning back in October. Anime Boston leadership has decided this is the best path forward for safety and logistical planning. We’ve seen in recent times how the government mandates can change on a whim. This can still be true 3 months from now. We cannot plan around that possibility.
Third, we are aware of the CDC regulations being more lenient as of late, especially in regards to school, but again, see the second point. We are not a school. We are a large event that typically hosts 25k+ people through one weekend. This isn’t just about what attendees find to be reasonable but we also must consider the needs of guests and more importantly, our staff. These are not easy measures to take and we realize it will have an impact, however, these are the steps that need to be taken in order to safely hold our event. With this policy firmly in place, we can now also finalize our guest list in earnest, something that has been on everyone’s mind.
The rest of the commentary really needs to be addressed as a group. Let's tackle some of the talking points brought up from this forum thread and how the requirements we’ve made are still consistent with CDC recommendations.
Claim: Masks are ineffective, CDC dropped their mask recommendations, anything less than N95 is worthless, etc.
False. Here is what the CDC has to say on masks
. Please note their first two key messages
- Masking is a critical public health tool for preventing spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask.
- To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.
Claim: COVID policies such as these are not impactful on the spread.
False. Our good friends at AnimeNYC have already gone through this and the CDC recently released this report
. The study directly cites that the vaccine and mask policies are directly responsible for preventing transmission and spread despite the presence of the newer and highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Anime Boston fully realizes that preventing a virus from infiltrating the event is nigh impossible but that does not mean we do nothing as a solution. There is an inherent risk to attending any large event such as ours and that is up to the individual to choose. Testing 2 or 3 days before the start of the convention does not cover the period of when the test was taken to the individual’s arrival. A person can be easily infected and enter with a test giving clearance. It is certainly good knowledge and we recommend people to get tested before and after the show. I personally plan to. That being said, we are not requiring it at this time. To be clear, our goal is to mitigate the spread instead as that is something that has been consistently proven to work. As a result we are, unfortunately, unable to safely accommodate individuals with a real medical exemption. This was something that was addressed in the city of Boston’s mandate
when it was in effect. As stated in our COVID policy, if you find that this policy causes a conflict with an already purchased badge, please contact our registration customer service
On a final note, it was very clear to me throughout this time and the rest of the board that attendees were increasingly frustrated with how fluid the situation was and with how close we’re getting to the convention dates. Will AB do this or that? The board has tried to remain flexible and hold out as long as possible but that anxiety and frustration was also exhibited between us. Will we
do this or that? How long can we wait until we decide? As a volunteer organization, we frankly do not have the luxury of time when it comes to event planning and we needed a strategy with or without state/city requirements in order to move forward. We are three months away from holding the event and we can no longer hold out on seeing where the wind may blow. With this, people know exactly where we stand on this issue and can make the choices they feel they need to make. We have no plans to pull the rug from the individuals who have purchased their memberships due to them deciding that these risk management measures were sufficient for them to attend.
In full transparency, we had drafted this policy and it was set to be released in December. However, at the same time the policy was put to a vote, the city announced it’s mandates effective January. This put everything on hold as we tried to coordinate with our two major facilities on what that would look like. Are there multiple checks as you enter each building? Do we even have a say in how the checking procedure looks like? We finally had our footing towards the end of January except now the city dropped their mandates and it’s back to square one. This was all within one month. We do not seek to repeat this process should they be brought back or dropped a second time. This is it.
Kanechan wrote: ↑Tue Mar 01, 2022 7:39 pm
More concerning to me is having to carry the original CDC vaccination card everywhere with you. I'm concerned with this because of the heightened risk of losing the card somewhere, and not being able to retrieve it later, and at a con like AB in a big place like the Hynes, that is a risk
annaneko wrote: ↑Wed Mar 02, 2022 2:08 am
can we maybe get some kind of "proof of vaccination shown" sticker on our badges?
So I can just bring my card on badge pick-up, get my sticker and not worry about it rest of weekend
At present, we are still in discussion and have not finalized neither the process on what we would accept for proof of vaccination beyond the obvious physical card, nor the logistics beyond that. That will come in a second update. Please be assured we are looking at this topic with the same concerns in mind.