DisCon III Maintains Covid Policy as Con Approaches

Two days ago a fan sent File 770 a link to the Associated Press story about Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s announcement “DC to drop most indoor mask requirements next week” because they were under the impression it would impact the mask requirement of DisCon III. However, a closer reading of the AP story, as well as a review of the Mayor’s press release on the DC.gov website, showed that private businesses can still require masks.

Masks will still be required, regardless of vaccination status, in the following circumstances:

      • Any private business that wants a mask requirement;
      • On public transport like buses and trains, inside train stations, in airports, and while in ride share vehicles;
      • Inside schools, childcare facilities, and libraries;
      • Congregate facilities, such as nursing homes/assisted living facilities, shelters, dorms/residences, and correctional facilities; and
      • In DC Government facilities where there is direct interaction between employees and the public (e.g., DMV service center; DHS service center, etc.).

File 770 contacted DisCon III to ask if there’s any change in the 2021 Worldcon’s requirements. The answer is, there is no change. Adam Beaton, DisCon III’s Communication Division Head replied: “We’re aware of DC’s change in their mask mandate. At this time, we feel that maintaining our policy is the best course to make our members feel safe about attending.”

And today DisCon III sent an all-members email with information about attending the convention that includes a concise summary of their Covid prevention policy. The convention begins December 15.

COVID POLICY in brief:

You must be vaccinated.
You must present proof of vaccination.
You must wear a mask.

If you cannot present suitable proof of vaccination (please see the covid-faq for what is suitable proof) at the con in December, you will not be allowed to attend the convention. There will be no exceptions to this. Please remember to bring proof and check twice (or more) that you have it with you!

You will also have to wear a mask which correctly covers your nose and mouth at all times when at the convention (other than in private hotel rooms or specified areas while eating). If you cannot do this, then you will not be allowed to attend the convention. There will be no exceptions to this.

As a reminder, being fully vaccinated means you must have received all required COVID vaccination doses no later than 14 days prior to the day you arrive at DisCon III to allow them to reach full efficacy before arrival. For people arriving on Wednesday, December 15th, that would be Wednesday, December 1st. The date of vaccination will be confirmed as part of the pre-reg check described below. This (date clarification) is a minor update on our previously stated policy.

The convention’s complete Covid policy is here. There also is a Covid FAQ.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley for the story.]

16 thoughts on “DisCon III Maintains Covid Policy as Con Approaches

  1. Excellent. I’m not going (not planning to, but it’s kind of late to change my mind now), because even with those requirements it doesn’t seem nearly safe enough to me. Dropping it below that would be grossly irresponsible.

  2. I presume this’ll be checked at one-site registration, as a requirement to get a badge, not that we have to carry our cards on us 24/7 on-site. I can, just prefer not to.

    ETA: It’s not stated but seems pretty clear from the policy. And BTW their policy’s one of the best I’ve seen.

    @Mike Glyer: Thanks for the update & background on this! BTW the “here” link goes literally to “here”, so it pulls up a random File 770 article with “here” at the start of the headline/URL. Methinks you meant to paste this link in: https://discon3.org/covid/

  3. I am very grateful that DisCon III has updated their previous policy from “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” to “To attend any aspect of DisCon III in person, members and guests of DisCon III must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the convention [vaccine details snipped].

    “This means you must have received all required COVID vaccination doses no later than 14 days prior to the day you arrive at DisCon III to allow them to reach full efficacy before arrival.”

    I have friends whose daughter would have been excluded from attending DisCon III under the original policy, but, due to the school week, will arrive at the convention after she meets the “14 days prior” requirement. Lots of kids have just finally been able to start getting their vaccinations, and the current policy will allow at least this one (and perhaps others) to attend. The revised policy does a better job of reflecting and enforcing what the science says instead of depending on a specific calendar date that would exclude people who would otherwise be eligible and eager to attend.

    It’s less than a month until the Worldcon begins. I know the people running it are working flat out, and it becomes harder and harder to fix missteps made along the way the closer the convention looms on the event horizon. Appreciation to DisCon III for fixing this one!

  4. Kendall: Thanks.

    While editing, I discovered I needed to fix some paragraph indents, too.

  5. @Kendall: It does say “This documentation should be provided in person at the Registration desk on site. “

  6. @Andrew (not Werdna): Thanks; my reading comprehension sometimes is horrible. (Other times, it’s just bad.)

  7. No problem.

    I just dropped their question email address a question, since the back of my vaccination card doesn’t say anything.

  8. Oh, so that’s why I got another e-mail about DisCon’s covid policy today. I’d been wondering since the policy had already been announced some time ago.

  9. Yes.

    And the policy needs to continue as long as the con is in the hotel, including set up, tear down, and dead dogging. It shouldn’t magically appear when the con officially opens and magically disappear when the con officially closes.

  10. @Jon: Yes, but for a Worldcon [in particular, due to the structure], trying to enforce anything on teardown is going to be tricky.

    Also, setup/teardown may be a bit “asterisked” if hotel employees are involved, since there may or may not be any mandates there…

    …which is, itself, a tricky point. I wonder how the hotel will be on compliance? [My experience elsewhere says…not good.]

  11. @Gray: Yeah, I would like to know the hotel’s record, too.

    As for setup/teardown – I see Mike picked up in today’s Scrixel Poll Seanan McGuire’s Twitter comments about her experience at Windycon, so there should be more details over on that thread and its links.

  12. Windycon staff and concom were all very careful to keep our masks on at all times during set-up and tear-down (with brief exceptions for eating or drinking). We did the best we could to enforce this policy among the fans. I know I personally asked four people to please re-mask; all complied without argument. But I wish I hadn’t had to ask anyone at all. Hotel staff in public areas all wore masks. Some “backstage” employees did not, unfortunately.

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