Dragon Con, the internationally known science fiction, fantasy, and gaming convention, has adopted a number of health & safety protocols designed to help reduce the spread of COVID while making the convention fun and memorable for all returning fans.
Now in its 35th year, Dragon Con runs from Thursday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 6 with events and activities across five host hotels – Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Westin Peachtree, and Sheraton Atlanta – and AmericasMart Buildings One and Two.
“We are excited to welcome fans back to Atlanta for this milestone convention,” said convention co-chair Rachel Reeves. “While the health and safety of our fans is always a priority, we have worked hard this year to balance the need to protect our fans’ health with our tradition of throwing an awesome convention that fans will remember.”
The protocols include a requirement that all fans wear a mask while indoors in a convention venue, reduced attendance during the convention by reducing the number of memberships available for sale before the convention, reduced room capacities in ballrooms, panel rooms, and other programming spaces, and increased cleaning and sanitation throughout the venues.
Other changes are designed to reduce congestion, improve traffic flow, and increase personal spacing within the convention venues.
In addition, Dragon Con encourages all fans to get a vaccination as it has been shown to offer the most personal protection from illness related to this pandemic. It also encourages fans to stay home if they do not feel well, or have been recently exposed to somebody with COVID.
To help spread the joy that is Dragon Con to fans who are not comfortable with attending a live convention (or who are blocked by international travel restrictions), Dragon Con Goes Virtual, a live-streamed version of the convention, will be available for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their own home in the company of close friends and family. A Dragon Con Goes Virtual subscription is $10.
The protocols and convention changes are listed below and will be available on the convention’s website: https://www.dragoncon.org/updates/
Face masks and reduced attendance
· Appropriate face masks will be required at all times inside convention venues regardless of vaccination status, in keeping with updated CDC guidelines (link to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html) and City of Atlanta requirements (link to https://www.atlantaga.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/52010).
· In 2021, Dragon Con will have reduced capacity from prior years. We have worked closely with our hotels and AmericasMart to determine how many people are permitted in the buildings each day and at a given time and taken further steps to reduce capacity to allow for personal spacing.
· There will be no Saturday-only membership sales before or during the convention. One-day badges will only be available for Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday.
· Related to that, there will be no onsite membership sales to reduce congestion, increase social distance, and improve traffic at badge pickup in the Sheraton. If memberships are available for purchase, they will only be available online through Growtix.
Room capacity, including Walk of Fame
· All panel rooms and other programming venues will have a reduced 2/3rds maximum capacity at all times.
· In the Walk of Fame, we will have approximately 50 percent fewer guests signing to provide for better spacing, personal distancing, traffic flow, and line management. There will be a one-way flow enforced throughout the room and limited capacity at all times. Additional safety precautions may be enforced, including temperature checks.
Traffic flow, congestion, and personal distancing
· Badge checks will be expanded across the show to support the capped attendance and spacing. If you don’t have a membership for Dragon Con, we ask that you participate in some of our awesome virtual elements highlighted below, as the hotels will be closed to badge-holding members only.
· Lines for events and panel programming will be closed once we reach the 2/3rds reduced room capacity to reduce the number of people congregating in an area and to improve traffic flow. As always, ballrooms will be cleared between panels and the existing line policy, #18 described here (https://www.dragoncon.org/about/dragon-con-policies/) remains in effect and will be strictly enforced.
· Other specific changes to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion include.
o The Concourse Stages will have longer breaks between each performance, rotating between both locations with fewer bands and performances overall.
o Fan tables will not be openly available for 2021 to reduce lobby congestion and improve traffic flow.
o Our traditional arcade partner, Joystick Game Bar will move from AmericasMart to a unique pop-up experience located at 161 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303, with activities going on from 10a – 4a daily. Dragon Con members get in free.
o The Chosen Costume Contest, hosted annually at Dragon Con Night at the Georgia Aquarium, will take a hiatus to prevent crowding.
· Our venues have adopted enhanced cleaning protocols and are committed to delivering above and beyond the sanitation standards established. If you would like details, we encourage you to check with each property individually.
· All panel rooms and programming spaces will be closed twice a day for deep cleaning – once during the day and once overnight. These closures will happen on a rolling basis, with specific times indicated in the app, so there will ALWAYS be lots of programming options to choose from.
· Gaming in AmericasMart Building 1 will have limited hours to meet our cleaning commitments and other enhanced safety measures. The building will be closed from 2 am – 8 am daily. Open gaming will be available in the Savannah Ballroom will be available 24 hours a day, except during daily cleaning periods.
· Because children under 12 years old are not recommended for the COVID vaccine, the Kids Track will not host the Kids’ Character Encounter or Family-Friendly Dance.
· We are excited to again partner with Epic Photo Ops, who has adjusted their policies with the safety and wellbeing of our guests and fans in mind, including limiting the number of individuals in a photo op. For a detailed listing of additional protocols, visit https://epicphotoops.com/covid-19.
· We have received our parade permit and at this time will host a modified and scaled back parade. A Dragon Con membership is required to view the parade live and in person for 2021. All others can watch the parade on CW69, our broadcast partner, or on line at YouTube and other social media platforms.