Hello Arisia community!
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.
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.