During the initial onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, there was a conscious decision to shutter all concerts and conventions until transmissions of the virus were under control. Earlier this year, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson all rolled out vaccines that seemed to reduce serious cases of COVID along with helping to slow the spread of the lethal virus. After spending much of 2020 dormant, and waiting for the chance to allow attendees the chance to return to their showroom floors, some of the largest conventions in the US finally resurfaced. But just as conventions were returning, so was a newer, more easily transmissible mutation of COVID. Dubbed the Delta variant, this strain of COVID has been shown to be more deadly than the original, and strong enough to cause breakthrough transmission even among those who are vaccinated. With the Delta variant surging, vaccine mandates are becoming the new norm.
Two of the largest comic cons in C2E2 and the New York Comic Con, have already announced plans to require proof of vaccination AND are requiring “approved masks” to be worn by attendees. CES which opted for a virtual-only show in 2021, has also announced plans to require proof of vaccination from those looking to attend. While this is almost certainly going to be met with feverish pushback, to see several major companies take this stance is refreshing. While breakthrough transmissions of COVID are still possible among those that are vaccinated, the cases are typically mild and almost never require hospitalization.
Even though a large number of Americans have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson, there are still twice as many who are refusing to get the vaccine. With much of the population remaining unvaccinated, COVID cases are beginning to swell higher than they were before the vaccine was made available to the public. Hospitalizations are also up, with over 90% of hospitalizations occurring in those who have not been vaccinated.
Many events are starting to require proof of vaccination for attendance, while some are only requiring masks or a negative onsite rapid COVID test. Certain employers like Disney are beginning to require employees to be vaccinated in order to work. As mandates become more and more the norm, it will become increasingly more difficult for unvaccinated people to travel, or consume entertainment outside of the comfort of their own homes. With COVID seemingly staying for the long haul, more places are rolling out a hard line “better safe than sorry” approach for their customers, attendees, and employees.