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Since the pandemic hit us full force in March, the list of events big and small that have been canceled has become so vast that it’s hardly even newsworthy to report when a show is shut down anymore. But at least one show is going on, as of today: Tampa Bay Comic Convention, in Tampa, FL which, like most of the state, has reopened — even its sweaty gyms.

The show will be held July 10-12, as reported on Facebook. But it will not be like the comic cons of the Before Time.

After nearly two months of agonizing uncertainty, we have received confirmation from the Tampa Convention Center and Tampa Fire Marshal that TBCC 2020 will move forward with numerous health measures enacted by the venue and various levels of government, to keep attendees, exhibitors, guests, and staff as safe as possible. Below you’ll find some of the measures that will be enacted:

 

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1) Temperature screenings will be mandatory for all occupants prior to entering Tampa Convention Center. Those exhibiting temperatures above a certain level will not be allowed entry into the convention.

2) Tampa Convention Center has increased cleaning and disinfection procedures in high-traffic areas such as elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more.

3) Hand sanitizing stations shall be set through the pre-function space and high traffic areas at entrance points.

4) Interior occupancy of the exhibit hall, ballrooms, and meeting rooms shall be strictly limited, with one-way ingress and one-way egress of all interior spaces.

We’ve been waiting in limbo, not knowing and not having answers for quite a while. Now, we can resume guest announcements, along with exhibitor/artist alley invoicing, and guest bookings.

We’re looking forward to another nerdy weekend at Tampa Bay Comic Convention, in less than two months!

Notably, the wearing of masks is not called for — if you should choose to go, honestly, it might not be a bad idea. However, it’s controversial locally. 

Even with all the safeguards, I’m guessing that a lot of people aren’t going to be eager to file into a convention center with hundreds of other people, even if they’re six feet away. It is known that poor ventilation increases the viral load, which increases the likelihood of infection.

Surveys I’ve seen show a lot of people are hesitant to go to cons, even if they weren’t canceled. (Emerald City Comic Con is still scheduled for August in Seattle.)

Some things about TBCC are like other shows: Listed guests include Tom Felton, Kevin Nash and cartoonists Tim Bradstreet and Steve Leiber. I suspect cuddly photo ops are on hold for now — if the celebrities even show up.

The comments on the post — 600+ at the moment — reflect all the confusion and controversy with most saying it’s too soon, and others wondering who will risk it to attend. I’m pretty sure some people will feel confident enough to go to the show… I just hope it isn’t a mistake that infects other people.

Nonetheless, at some point, someone somewhere is going to have to have the first comic con. With all the attention paid to the fragile economic state of comics shops, no one has even begun to address the huge economic loss of not having comics shows. Many creators rely on con sales to make a living, and I’m not even talking about vendors and the rest of the vast event industry that has been booming in recent years.

With outdoor events somewhat safer than indoor, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some outdoor book fair type events start to spring up. But, we’ll see. Life After Lockdown is still a big question mark.

Will you attend Tampa Bay Comic Con? Or a similar show in your region? Let us know in the comments.

 

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