COVID-19 Policies for Arisia 2024

Reporting - Masking - Vaccination - Parties

Updated: January 1, 2024


Reporting

Updated: January 1, 2024

As at our 2023 convention, Arisia will be tracking COVID cases at the convention. We are asking our attendees to follow the procedures below if they suspect they have developed COVID during the convention or the 7 days after.

  • If you become ill during the convention, immediately isolate either by returning home or going to your hotel room.
  • Take a COVID test. If you are on site and need a COVID test, contact Click here to show mail address and they will deliver 2 tests to your hotel room.
  • If your COVID test is negative, continue to isolate as false negatives are common in the early stages of infection
  • If your COVID test is positive, notify Click here to show mail address, including any information you are comfortable providing about your activities at the convention.
  • Safety will publish anonymized reports to the Arisia website, social media and at con newsletter. The reports will take the following format:
    • An individual reported a positive COVID test on (day) at (time). They attended (activities) and were unmasked in the (location) on (day) at(time).
  • People who test negative on the first test should test a second time 48 hours later and follow the above procedure if they test positive.
  • If you become ill during the 7 days following the convention, take at least 2 COVID tests 48 hours apart to determine if you have COVID
  • Positive tests should be reported in the same manner as they are reported during con. We will continue to post COVID updates until January 22.

Masking

Updated: August 27, 2023

All of us on the Con Chair team recognize the importance of communicating clearly, early and often about the COVID policy for Arisia 2024. To ensure we could do this, we have had our first meeting with a team of medical and public health experts to discuss COVID precautions for the January 2024 convention.

A major factor in all of Arisia’s decisions about COVID policy is how to make our events accessible for the largest number of people. We want to be clear both with our words and with our actions that we value the members of our community who are medically vulnerable, immunocompromised or elderly. To that end, we have decided that for Arisia 2024 we will require masks without an exhalation vent over the nose and mouth in convention spaces. A minimum of a surgical mask is required. We strongly encourage people to use N95, KN95, KF-94 or FFP2 masks whenever possible.

We understand that at this point in the pandemic, it is rare for events to require masks. Though this may pose an inconvenience for some of our attendees, it will enable more of Arisia’s convention-goers to attend. We know that there will probably be some people who are not safe in even a masked crowd and who still won’t be able to join us,but we believe this decision means a larger portion of our community will be able to be present. After the last few years, that’s what matters the most to us.

While we hope people will stay masked as much as they are able, there are some spaces where attendees can take breaks from having their masks on. We will once again have a con suite, which is a mask-optional space where snacks and drinks will be served and where people are welcome to bring in their own food. We are also planning to have a Green Room for staff and program/event participants where food will be served, and that space will be mask-optional as well. As with last year, we expect the hotel will not require masks in public spaces, such as the lobby and restaurants, although we hope attendees remain masked in more crowded and cramped public spaces, like the elevators.

Private parties will also be able to set their own policies, and some performances will allow performers to be unmasked.
Please see the party section below for details.

We are still discussing other aspects of our Arisia 2024 COVID policy – including vaccination requirements – with our advisory team. But we wanted to share our decision that Arisia 2024 will require attendees to mask in convention space, which we hope will keep our attendees safe from COVID, as well as the flu strain and RSV.


Vaccination

Updated: September 27, 2023

About a month ago we announced our mask policy for Arisia 2024. We know people have been wondering how we would be handling the issue of vaccines this year. After consulting with our advisory team and gathering information about vaccine availability and procedures around the world, we have decided we will not be requiring proof of vaccination for this convention.

As you know, a major factor in all of Arisia’s decisions about COVID policy is how to make our events accessible for the largest number of people, and this continues to guide our thinking.. The situation regarding vaccinations has changed dramatically since we began planning for Arisia 2024. In order for a vaccine mandate to make a meaningful difference in transmission risk at this masked event, we would need to require the newest booster that is optimized for the current strains of COVID. This booster is not as readily available outside the US. There are also more medical contraindications for the boosters than there were for the original series of the vaccines. What this adds up to is needing to grant a larger number of exemptions to any vaccine policy we put in place. At that point, we’re no longer a fully vaccinated and boosted convention.

Additionally, we have learned that many areas within the US are not continuing to mark people’s vaccine cards and electronic vaccination records are not ubiquitous. This places  a burden on some attendees to produce proof that is not readily available.

Knowing our community, we trust that anyone who can get the newest booster will get it both for their own safety and the safety of those around them. We are confident that we will still have a very high percentage of fully vaccinated and boosted attendees, and that combined with the mask mandate will minimize the risk of COVID transmission at the convention. We are also strongly encouraging everyone who can to get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before the convention.

We look to our community to help us stop the spread of illnesses:

  • Get vaccinated if you can: Covid boosters and flu boosters are especially important, but if you are eligible for RSV vaccinations, we recommend those as well.
  • If you are sick in the week leading up to the convention, stay home. We will ensure you can roll over your 2024 registration to 2025.
  • If you live with someone who has tested positive for covid or flu within the week leading up to the convention, please stay home.
  • Test and isolate in your hotel room – or at home –  if you become symptomatic. We plan to have some Covid tests on-hand for those who are unable to or forget to bring their own.

Thank you all for helping keep our community safe so that we can all have a fun convention. Please remember: Arisia 2024 will require attendees to mask in convention space, which we hope will keep our attendees safe from COVID, as well as the flu strain and RSV. And we strongly encourage attendees to get vaccinated for COVID and flu to protect themselves and others.


PARTIES

Updated: October 19, 2023

Open parties may serve food+drink and permit unmasking in party space if and only if:

  1. The party is advertised as a “food” or “mask optional” event in the spaces where parties are advertised, including the Party Board, elevator lobbies, and signage posted throughout the convention.
  2. A visible professional-quality sign is posted outside the party space reminding attendees of the masking rules for that party. The language of the signage must be clear and direct. Attempts to evade these rules, or serving food+drink at a party that has not previously advertised rules stating so, will be considered a violation of the Code of Conduct.

Closed parties must disclose their masking rules on their invitations or directly to invited attendees prior to invitees entering the party space. Closed parties may not advertise publicly, as described in the Arisia Party Host Rules.