[Convention News] ACEN Posts Last Minute Policy Changes Causing Uproar Among Pass Holders
Anime Central has made some last minute changes to their COVID policies just days before the event.
On May 16th, they made the following announcement:
The policy on their site now states:
Our policies are based on current CDC Guidelines and align with the requirements of the Donald E. Stephens Conventions Center and state and local health authorities regarding large indoor events. Currently, verification of vaccination or proof of negative test are not required for admission to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center or Anime Central. We will continue to monitor the requirements and guidance from state and local health departments.
These changes are in conflict with statements previously made on April 29th.
The convention still strongly recommends that attendees wear masks, but they also require that attendees acknowledge any symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
An e-mail sent by, and to, Anime Central staff states the decision made by the Midwest Animation Promotion Society (MAPS) following “lack of support from the venue” and “last-minute communication.” Conveniently, the MAPS website is expired.
The ACEN website also reveals that there will be no refunds or transfers for badge-holders, which leaves a lot of people with some tough decisions to make.
With the increasing cases, do they risk their health or do they throw away the money they have spent on tickets and possibly hotel and flights? It’s too late for many to cancel their plans, so this is a very expensive decision.
Anime News Network reached out to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (DESCC) for comment
The convention center replied, “We continue to follow the most current rules sent down by the CDC and IDPH.” The CDC guidelines require wearing masks for areas where the COVID-19 Community Level is marked as “High.” Cook County, where the convention will take place, is marked at a “Medium” community level, though the Illinois Department of Public Health still notes that “school districts and private businesses can continue to require masks at their discretion.”
Some convention guests such as Erica Mendez and Lucien Dodge have stated that masks will be required for attendees who wish to interact with them. The event’s website notes that masks may be mandatory in some areas or at the request of guests.
On top of the new mask policies, it has come to our attention that ACEN has also altered several other policies and teams.
At past events, ACEN has been lauded for their disability services, medical response teams, and communications. That is apparently all changing.
The disability services is no longer a separate team and has been folded in the customer service umbrella, while the medical response and incidence teams are going to a third party. Whether these are good changes has yet to play out, but considering the recent event, I dont foresee it being advantageous to participants.
As for communications, most of these changes took the staff by surprise, even many in the upper levels did not see this coming.
All of these recent changes have led to many long-term staffers turning in their notice; so if you do go, be prepared for a lot less staff on-site and you probably shouldn’t expect much help.
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