Gencon wont have that same issue if they choose to keep the mask mandate because they will enforce it, like last year. Most attendees will play by the rules if they know they will be enforced.
I believe it all comes down to how many attendees does Gen Con lose with a vax/mask policy vs how many attendees lost without one.
I know that without a mandate, two of our group of six would drop out.
I travel through the Detroit and Atlanta international airports often, and if you want to see thousands of people packed together inside for hours at a time with varying levels of hygiene outside of Gencon, large airports would be it. Hundreds of employees work inside day after day. Masking is less than <10%, probably <5%, employees included. And no, nobody is giving grief to those wearing masks. Obviously, It is not relevant to Gencon what the airport is doing, but just saying Conventions are not the only time people gather in large groups for extended periods of time. It happens all over every day, and everyone is just going about their business.
IMO Gen Con is making a mess of this. Last year they had a perfectly reasonable policy, which was to follow CDC guidance. At the time, the guidance was to wear masks.
This year, they seem to be abandoning the policy of following CDC guidance and making their own call, without even remotely having the expertise to second guess the thousand of scientists and doctors at the CDC. It will all come down to what someone at Gen Con thinks or feels about the situation, regardless of what the professionals have to say about it.
By putting themselves in the center of the debate, rather than letting the experts decide, Gen Con is going to annoy a large number of their customers no matter what they do. Worse, by not defining the specific conditions under which a mask mandate would be lifted, they give themselves no off-ramp to ever end the mask requirement, which means we're going to have this argument all over again next year and beyond.
in my group, one was in favor of the requirement, and everyone else would prefer mask-optional. Most who wanted mask-optional have already said they will still buy badges and wear a mask, assuming that is the final decision.
GenCon is, of course, free to do what they wish in the interest of safety. The "pandemic" is over, but the virus is not gone. It continues to infect and kill people. Those of us who are vaccinated have a better chance of recovery.
As a man of science, I have had my 3 doses of the vaccine. I had COVID in April, and thankfully didn't suffer due to my vaccines. I think it is solid policy that GenCon is mandating vaccine cards to attend.
However, the CDC has quoted scientific studies that show masking should be optional to prevent the spread of COVID 19. I do not wear a mask any longer unless I'm in tight, crowded quarters. When I go to GenCon this year, I would wear my mask in the dealer hall and hallways whether they're required or not. I would prefer not to wear it at a gaming table, especially the Pathfinder Sagamore Ballroom where it's already very difficult to hear.
But, if GenCon says they are mandating masks at all times in all locations, so be it. I'm still going to go and game!
I hope they can find a middle ground on the restrictions. I wish they would go back to the early June restictions from last year with a couple modifications. If you're vaxed no mask required, if you are not vaxed, 48 hr test and mask required. The only exceptions would be if the GM wants vaxed people masked at their table it's their call, and make the exhibit hall mask required to keep the vendors happy.
I imagine the majority of the vendors want masks and vaccine mandates. They are the ones at greatest risk being 24/7 in the dealer hall.
I'm fine with it. Had fun last year and will again this year.
I'll be there to run demos for a company that I love supporting but neither myself nor my group of five have purchased tickets yet because masked gaming was just not something that we particularly enjoyed.
I think I could live with a mask requirement for the dealer hall but I can only speak for myself. It might be a way to make both the vendors and the attendees happy though.
I was excited when I got an email the other day saying that masks were recommended ut not required... and then I realized that the email was from origins, not Gen Con. Sigh.
Honestly, I think the Gen Con organizers THEMSELVES want people to wear masks, and that's the basis of their decision. That was certainly the vibe I got from the official blog post. I may be wrong, but it certainly *feels* like they are scared, and projecting that onto us. If this is the case, then our opinions are not nearly as important to them as we would like to think.
One thing I hadn't thought of until recently... this group of people on the forum is self-selected. I was at an online gaming con this past weekend, and of the 40-ish people with whom I interacted online, I was the only one who had been to an actual in-person gaming con recently (Gen Con 2021) and the only person planning to attend an in-person gaming cons this year. They were NOT worried about catching COVID. Rather, none of them wanted to wear masks while gaming for hours. In fact, they all refused to attend in-person cons until mask mandates were dropped. I was really surprised to hear this, and then I realized that there is a whole group of gamers out there who are not interacting with Gen Con attendees, because they have chosen NOT to be Gen Con attendees based on the current policies.
When I read through this thread, it sounds like there are so many people who want masks at this con. But if we were to look at ALL potential attendees (including the ones who have taken themselves out of the equation because they refuse to wear masks while gaming) how much lower would the number of mask-wanting people be?
There enough people who want to attend Gen Con and either want masks or don't mind them to submit more than 12,000 events (so far) and sell out the hotel block. The people that want masks or don't mind them are not a small number.
In any event, Gencon gets to set its rules for its convention. People can attend knowing what the rules are. If they agree to go, they agree to follow the rules.
Only at a high community level (e.g. 200 new C19 cases per 100,000 per day or certain hospital stress levels) do they say "wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status."
In hindsight, if I was told in the beginning of the year by the time the convention happened that Origins is mask optional/Gencon mask required, I would have potentially booked my time with Origins. At the time everything was leaning mask/vaccine so.. went with Gencon still.
I think the percent of vendors that want a mask mandate is substantially higher than the percent of attendees that want a mask mandate.