The 2021 Worldcon committee has notified members that under DisCon III’s COVID Policy they will require proof of completed vaccination, and that masks must be worn at the con. They also have posted a FAQ with more information.
The committee distributed the following release to members and the press:
Worldcon is more than just a convention: it is a community. As such, we all have a duty to protect each other and to protect our friends, families, and peers.This has been true from the very first Worldcon in 1939, and it remains true today.
At DisCon III, we aim to continue this tradition of providing a welcoming, supportive, and safe environment for all members of the science fiction and fantasy community. We have a responsibility to provide and maintain a safe convention experience for everyone from members and volunteers to staff and hotel employees and even to the community at large. We can’t protect from every danger, but we can do our best to protect from infectious conditions that are lessened by effective vaccination programs.
Our COVID-19 policy is intended to comply with all applicable laws. It is based upon guidance provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and created in consultation with epidemiologists who are familiar with conventions and fandom. We will continue to follow developments, revise the policy as necessary, and communicate any updates or changes with members. Find our COVID-19 FAQ here.
“The health and safety of the Worldcon community is our first concern. We all are yearning to reconnect with each other, to be able to see each other, and gather together because of our passion for the world of science fiction. We need to do it in a way that protects all of us,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, DisCon III Chair. “The Covid-19 policy was created with input from our community and health experts.”
“I was relieved to hear about this policy, since while it would be nice for my kids to be able to attend, it’s far more important to me that I don’t bring anything home with me to my unvaccinated kids,” said Malka Older, one of the M.C.s for the Hugo Award Ceremony.
The following is the current official DisCon III Policy related to preventing the spread of COVID-19:
1. Mandatory: Proof of Completed Vaccination
To attend any aspect of DisCon III in person, members and guests of DisCon III must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 1st with a course of vaccination approved for human use as a COVID vaccine in the country in which the vaccine was received, including authorization for emergency use. Each such person must present proof of vaccination, and attendees over the age of 18 must show a photo identification matching the name shown on the proof of vaccination. There are no exceptions.
2. Mandatory: Masks must be worn.
COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool to help stop the pandemic, but they don’t mean we can stop taking all precautionary measures. Properly worn masks covering nose and mouth are required for all convention members and guests in all convention spaces, except when actively eating or drinking. Failure to comply is a Code of Conduct violation and may be subject to disciplinary action. Clear masks will be provided to facilitate accessibility to panelists, event participants, and certain staff and volunteers in key positions.
3. Recommended: DC Covid-19 Tracker App
To help make people aware if a COVID-19 exposure is discovered at the convention, members and guests are encouraged to download and install the DC Covid Tracker app.
4. Refund Policy
Members who cannot or choose not to get vaccinated may request that their current attending membership be converted to a supporting or virtual membership, consistent with the convention’s existing refund policies.
As of this writing, children under 12 are not currently eligible for vaccination. We recognize that children aged 5-11 may become eligible for vaccination prior to the convention, and so we are allowing a full refund for children under 12. Further, we are extending the refund cut-off to December 1 for those children and their families to allow them time to delay their decision in hope that expanded eligibility will permit them to attend. However, due to all of the uncertainties, we are making the difficult decision that DisCon III will not offer on-site childcare.
We understand some individuals may still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. We recommend visiting the CDC’s page Myths and Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines for more information.
The DisCon III community wishes that this policy was not necessary, but the safety of our members and volunteers, and the safety of our hotel staff, is our responsibility. Thank you for understanding why we have felt compelled to make these difficult decisions, and thank you for joining with us to do your part to keep our community and those around us safe.