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Author Topic: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns  (Read 4674 times)

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Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« on: March 07, 2020, 08:10:25 AM »

Not going to pull any punches with this question.

With the looming threat of exposure and transmission of infections viruses and diseases (the current of public concern being COVID-19) at events where large masses of people are going to be gathering, are there any considerations by the Fanime staff that are being discussed at this time to protect the attendees? Several high profile public events (Emerald City Comic Con, SXSW, and E3 to name a few) and numerous other smaller events at this time have been postponed, actively assessing postponement, and outright canceled due to health concerns for it's attendees. It is an important discussion that needs to be happening, especially when taking in to consideration of those who are at risk of becoming severely ill due to health concerns (the young, the elderly, and the immunocompromised, etc.).

So, my question is there any discussion happening at this time? Is the staff actively monitoring the situation and monitoring the alerts of local health organizations (i.e. the Santa Clara County Public Health Department)? Is the staff considering extreme measures INCLUDING postponement and cancellation in order to protect attendee/public health?

Thank you for your time.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2020, 09:12:59 AM »

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Ferdielance

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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2020, 07:53:31 PM »

I’ve attended Fanime for several years. It’s an important social event for me. I look forward to it every year.

And with the first COVID-19 death reported in Santa Clara County, I think the following questions should be addressed in a public statement. Perhaps one is already in the works.

* Should Fanime simply be cancelled early while some refunds are possible for people who have booked?
* If not, how severe does the situation have to get before the con is cancelled? It would be good to have some limit on this.
* How can a convention be kept safe when the close quarters, packed hotel rooms, and general loss of sleep create an ideal environment for the spread of this illness?
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JavaMoon

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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2020, 08:10:33 PM »

Well. I think it's safe to say that Fanime isn't happening this year...

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/california-governor-issues-statewide-order-to-stay-at-home-effective-thursday-evening.html

No end date for this order...it's until further notice.

I'm quite frankly stunned at the utter silence and only the single perfunctory statement about COVID-19 from Fanime staff. How incredibly reckless and irresponsible.

To anyone who reads this message, I would strongly suggest you make arrangements to cancel and get refunds for any travel/lodgings that you booked for this event. This is especially urgent if you booked a hotel through Fanime. I believe that the deadline in previous years to cancel and make changes without penalty ends sometime in April. Not sure if that's the same policy this year. Be proactive and get it done to prevent complications.

Fanime's registration policy says no refunds...if they decide to hold that policy in place despite this, that will make many people VERY angry.

So, will the Fanime staff actually say anything about this or will they continue to announce additional guests of honor on Twitter?  ::)
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EJAY420

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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2020, 09:26:44 AM »

Fanime should postponed till late summer or next year.
Rather be on the side of caution.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 10:14:14 AM by EJAY420 »
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2020, 11:06:19 AM »

I'm sure at this point it will either be postponed or canceled, but with an event this size everything has to be sewn up behind the scenes before an official announcement can be made.  There are usually vendor and guest contracts (things like GoH announcements) that have to run as usual until explicitly legally reworked.

What I implore attendees NOT to do is get cynical or angry toward FanimeCon or facilities staff before a specific announcement is made.  A FanimeCon cancellation and refund is completely new territory for this event (as it is with many others), and as such its implementation will take time.

I mean, look at how poorly MomoCon has been handling things...
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2020, 12:51:50 PM »

I'm sure at this point it will either be postponed or canceled, but with an event this size everything has to be sewn up behind the scenes before an official announcement can be made.  There are usually vendor and guest contracts (things like GoH announcements) that have to run as usual until explicitly legally reworked.

What I implore attendees NOT to do is get cynical or angry toward FanimeCon or facilities staff before a specific announcement is made.  A FanimeCon cancellation and refund is completely new territory for this event (as it is with many others), and as such its implementation will take time.

I mean, look at how poorly MomoCon has been handling things...

Agreed!

This is something the Fanime Staff have yet to run into, and something I've never even encountered in my 10+ years attending the Con. We all need to be patient and wait until the staff are ready to report to us all.

Until then, make whatever choice is right for yourselves.
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Mizuki

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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2020, 06:32:26 PM »

Forefront: I am not staff anymore, and do not have any information on what they are planning to do.

As news on this epidemic is still developing, and the future is uncertain, I would wait until they send more information out our ways. Running an event of this size requires a lot of behind-the-scenes talks with the hotels, vendors, convention center, and even the city. If you wish to get a more direct method of contacting staff, try one of these emails here: https://www.fanime.com/about-us/contact-us/
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Angelx624

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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2020, 02:23:11 AM »

They issued another statement:

https://www.fanime.com/news/covid-19-update-from-fanimecon-chair/

It seems they are going ahead with the convention unless they are forced to cancel.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2020, 09:29:54 AM »

Just read the new update.
Even if it's a go, I'll probably not attend this year.
Just a safety concern. I have no issue waiting till next year.
Do the right thing Fanime, give out those precious refunds.
Plus most fans won't even have $$$ for this years con, since jobs are being lost RN.
Just my opinion.
Be safe everyone.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2020, 06:02:35 PM »

They issued another statement:

https://www.fanime.com/news/covid-19-update-from-fanimecon-chair/

It seems they are going ahead with the convention unless they are forced to cancel.

Just talking out loud - but to me what this alludes to is that if by May we're still under shelter-in-place restrictions in California or Santa Clara County the convention would be postponed until Memorial Day Weekend 2021.  There have been many other events in the Bay Area that have done this, deferring to 2021 a couple weeks before the event date due to shelter-in-place.  The most recent I can think of is Bay to Breakers.

I mean there is always this tiny chance that by the end of May the restrictions will be lifted, and the I suppose it comes to individual attendee preference.  At this point I doubt that will happen however.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2020, 07:33:32 PM »

They issued another statement:

https://www.fanime.com/news/covid-19-update-from-fanimecon-chair/

It seems they are going ahead with the convention unless they are forced to cancel.

Just talking out loud - but to me what this alludes to is that if by May we're still under shelter-in-place restrictions in California or Santa Clara County the convention would be postponed until Memorial Day Weekend 2021.  There have been many other events in the Bay Area that have done this, deferring to 2021 a couple weeks before the event date due to shelter-in-place.  The most recent I can think of is Bay to Breakers.

I mean there is always this tiny chance that by the end of May the restrictions will be lifted, and the I suppose it comes to individual attendee preference.  At this point I doubt that will happen however.
I'm betting they will have to cancel but for now they don't want to risk cancelling and going bankrupt so they're waiting it out.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2020, 07:36:11 PM »

I'm betting they will have to cancel but for now they don't want to risk cancelling and going bankrupt so they're waiting it out.

Yup, that would be my guess too, that there's a certain date that if we're still under restriction then the convention's insurance kicks in to alleviate some of the burden and it'll be deferred to 2021.  Same thing happened with a lot of other events.  I guess we'll see what comes late April.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2020, 10:46:14 PM »

I'm betting they will have to cancel but for now they don't want to risk cancelling and going bankrupt so they're waiting it out.

Yup, that would be my guess too, that there's a certain date that if we're still under restriction then the convention's insurance kicks in to alleviate some of the burden and it'll be deferred to 2021.  Same thing happened with a lot of other events.  I guess we'll see what comes late April.

And if that kinda crap is what they actually end up doing, that's gonna create a shitstorm of angry people. By then, most of the people who booked their hotels through Fanime might end up missing their deadline to change their bookings without penalty. A lot of people could be out a lot of money, not just the convention organizers.

And assuming all of this will just magically go away enough in what is now less than two months away...enough that a venue with thousands if not tens of thousands of attendants is going to go off without a hitch... Seriously?

No matter what, I'm not taking the chance and, worst case scenario, I'm writing off my pre-reg as a loss, since their policy still says no refunds. I booked a hotel outside of Fanime and was able to successfully cancel earlier this month without any penalty. I only hope that the bulk of the other attendees are able to do the same.

How disgusting. Other, far bigger bay area events have rescheduled or canceled with a faster response time. Cinequest from the beginning of this month postponed the second half of their film festival to the summer, despite a huge financial hit. They were able to get this done mid-festival, before the shelter in place order was even given. They have, arguably, lot more to lose than Fanime and they handled it beautifully, despite the short notice and it affecting not only San Jose but Redwood City venues.

If Fanime staff waits until the last possible minute to take any action, I think I'm done with Fanime and I've been going since '98.
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Amanojaku

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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2020, 04:43:11 PM »

Waiting until the last moment to cancel is the smart move for everyone involved.  I don't know how anyone can think otherwise.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2020, 10:33:45 PM »

Waiting until the last moment to cancel is the smart move for everyone involved.  I don't know how anyone can think otherwise.

My speculation. It’s not a smart move for everyone. It’s a smart move and potentially the only move for the convention. Consider you might still have people planning on coming from out of state for this convention. Consider the usual age range attendees are for this convention. Is it really a good idea to wait until the last minute for these people to have their money, schedules surrounding attending this convention. How is this going to work for attendees if they don’t cancel the con until after cancellation deadline for hotels is past? I don’t know what solutions the convention organizers have for these things especially when you consider that this is happening on top of their own very real lives and dealing with how whats happening might be affecting them.

As far as I’m concerned whats responsible for maintaining the convention as a whole might not be the same thing as whats responsible for their fans. And since this is a con for fans by fans that’s why I wonder how this will shake out. We probably won’t see peak Coronavirus for a week or two and then it’s not going away immediately so to have a convention in May would be hugely negligent. I don’t think they will and I don’t think the state of California would even let them at that point. To masquerade like it’s a possibility to hold it is just prolonging some people’s wait for the inevitable cancellation but I worry more for those people who don’t see what should be the writing on the wall.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2020, 06:44:52 PM »

I was talking a bit with people about why Fanime hasn't cancelled yet and I think they're waiting for the city and the convention hall to cancel on them or they'd probably be out a lot of money.
Fanime is a non profit so all the money they make as profit goes back into the convention the next year. Defaulting on their payments to the convention center and to the hotel blocks they've already paid for would be rough but my guess is if the convention center cancels on them they get their money back. But since the shelter in place order is currently only until May 3 they haven't been cancelled yet.
I'd be very very surprised if they aren't quietly working out the logistics of cancelling but can't say anything for legal reasons of  getting that refund.
Not saying its right thing, but I think that's whats going on.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2020, 06:29:04 AM »

The deadline for cancelling reserved hotel  rooms is coming up.

Idk about you guys but I cancelled mine. I'm playing it safe this year.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2020, 03:38:59 PM »

The deadline for cancelling reserved hotel  rooms is coming up.

Idk about you guys but I cancelled mine. I'm playing it safe this year.

My work schedule recently was adjusted, so I had to cancel. But if it hadn’t I probably would have canceled it anyway. It’s a really tough call, but it’s just too much of a risk at this point. I’m more than willing to help support the organization any other way I can, but attending is just out of the question at this point.
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Re: Influenza/COVID-19 Concerns
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2020, 05:18:35 PM »

I’d honestly prefer it to be either postponed to summer/fall or just cancelled with preordered badges refunded or honored for next year. Of course I’m going to be bummed out to miss a chance to see friends, but this is a safety/health concern and it’s going to be hard to enjoy the con even if we’re allowed back outside. The situation will still be all too recent.

I’m a gathering host and will try to advise everyone to spread out during photos, but I can’t say I’m comfortable running my gathering/attending other gatherings under these conditions.
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