“Over the past six months, we’ve been struggling with a very important question: “Should we even ATTEMPT to have L.A. Comic Con in 2020?” wrote Chris DeMoulin, the general manager of Los Angeles Comic Con.“Since March, we’ve been living in some version of a ‘Lockdown/Safer at Home’ world, trying hard to stay safe, hoping and praying for the health and safety of ourselves, our family, friends, neighbors and all of our fellow human beings,” he continued. “We’re wearing masks, keeping socially distant, and remaining thankful for frontline workers, hospital personnel and everyone working hard to make a difference.
“And yet, we all yearn for just a little bit of normality, to reclaim some aspects of our lives pre-COVID.”
According to the show’s website, the plan to run an event at the LA Convention center has been drawn up in conjunction with state, county and city officials. Safety precautions include:
• Renting out the entire LACC, with activities spread out to individual halls.
•Aisles will be one way.
• Each day will have a split schedule of two five hour sessions, with deep cleaning between each session.
• Half the number of attendees.
• Face masks will be required at all times.
• Fewer guests and celebrities.
Despite these announced precautions, it should be noted that events of this size are not currently allowed in Los Angeles, so expecting that it will be possible in three months time – with flu season adding on to the health issues – seems unlikely. In fact according to the LA Times, officials were surprised by the announcement:
But Doane Liu, the executive director of the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development, told The Times that this announcement came as a surprise and is premature. “Under current state health guidelines, conventions are not allowed,” Liu said. “It’s not known when they will be allowed.”
Liu explained that none of the different tiers established in Gov. Gavin Newson’s latest reopening plans includes resuming events such as conventions. L.A. County is still in the state’s most restricted tier, meaning indoor dining, movie theaters and shopping malls are among the businesses that are still closed. Both the state and county would have to allow conventions to take place before an event like L.A. Comic Con can happen.
The announcement was met with shock from many observers – and with no guests or exhibitors announced it does seem a bit premature. Notably, should the show be cancelled after tickets are purchased they can be used for “next year’s show.” So draw your own conclusions there.
While we all would like a return to normal, comic-cons seem like the very last thing that will be possible in a pandemic world. After all, even in normal times, cons were a petri dish for getting sick, with “con crud” a common part of post con life.
Or as a few folks wrote on twitter:
given the state of restrictions in CA/LA even pretending this will actually happen feels like…performance art. and by that I mean it’s inexplicable and off-putting https://t.co/Wf3SkcYlAX
— Albert Ching (@albertxii) September 28, 2020
I… can't believe they're seriously gonna try and have a comic con in LA in December.
Everyone comes home sick from conventions in NON-pandemic years.
— Iron Spike (@Iron_Spike) September 28, 2020
While SDCC, NYCC and other major shows have gone online, there have been smaller local shows in areas that allow it. Florida has just removed all COVID related restrictions, and shows have been running there for a while.
Still, this seems like some wishful thinking on the organizers’ part.