When San Diego Comic-Con welcomes live crowds for the first time since 2019, there are going to be some hoops for attendees to jump through if they want to be allowed in the event.
More than 130,000 people are expected to attend San Diego Comic Con in the Gaslamp area of downtown next Thursday night. This will be the first Comic-Con since the 2020 COVID pandemic started in the city. According to organizers of the event, attendees will be required to wear masks for events, and they will need to either show proof of being “fully vaccinated,” or they will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the scheduled event.
Cosplayers will not be exempt from wearing face masks regardless of their vaccination status, and all children age 5 and older will also be required to wear one during the convention or risk being tossed from the event. Comic-Con will have six locations throughout the downtown San Diego area where attendees will be given wristbands once they have confirmed their vaccine passport to attend.
San Diego Comic-Con International spokesperson David Glanzer told Variety about the changes made for this year’s event. “The main thing we discussed with everybody is that we were going to continue a mask mandate. With things still being so much in flux, we thought it prudent to be safer than not,” Glanzer said.
“So that was primary among our discussions with all stakeholders. Now, some entities had no-travel restrictions. So we understood that there were some groups that may not be able to attend, but honestly, there is no shame in that. The decision to attend Comic-Con has to be a personal one and we’re grateful to the groups that are coming down. And we totally understand those that might not feel comfortable doing so, and we let everybody know that.” he continued.
Per Comic-Con’s void policy, these rules will apply to all Comic-Con attendees, “including, but not limited to exhibitors, guests, staff, press, professionals, volunteers, and cosplayers.”
Glanzer stated that despite the restrictions for fans in attendance, there will be case-by-case exceptions made for celebrities who will be on stage during panels. Celebrity guests are unlikely to wear masks, depending on the protocols already put in place by studios, networks, and other organizations to protect their casts and creatives.
“If the stage is in excess of six feet from the audience and those members on that panel, we’ve heard that a lot of members on panels have been traveling in bubbles and have verification of vaccination and/or negative tests, those panels probably may not.” Glanzer said.
“But other panels might. It really will be dependent upon the criteria we’re shown when they show up.” he added. Comic-Con will be partnering up with the service “Clear Health Pass” to screen if attendees are cleared to enter the event. The Clear mobile app allows users to upload proof of vaccination before arriving, or a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of entry.
People who choose to use that service will be put in a special queue to enter. The system is the same app that was used in places like New York City, which is one of the major US cities that implemented a vaccine passport in order to enter gyms, movie theaters, restaurants and sporting events.
Those who are attending Comic-Con for the full 4-day event (5 days including the Preview Night) will likely have to receive 2 negative tests throughout the course of the event if they are unvaccinated, as the 72-hour period will not cover the entire event.