Impact of Coronavirus


PaizoCon General Discussion

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Shadow Lodge

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Hate to bring it up, but already there has been a number of business conferences and other events around the world canceled due to concern about coronavirus. Some authoritative sources are stating that they believe we're at the cusp of a wide outbreak across the US (and the rest of the world) that will likely last for a few months.

I assume that the PaizoCon team is keeping an eye on events and that there's no current intention to cancel PaizoCon (as we'd have heard by now) but I'd guess that it's around now that many people are starting to think about booking flights if they haven't already.

Can you let us know what the plan is if a coronavirus epidemic does take off? Is there a timeline you're working to that will determine when you'll make a call on event cancellation? If the call is left too late, many people who travel from far afield to the Con will have already committed funds that may be irrecoverable. Some will already have done so, of course, but I'd guess most currently will not have.

What's the plan, Paizo?


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At the sake of being a bit skeptical, it seems like the biggest problems with the recent series of outbreaks have been ignorance, fear, and hoarding.

Case in point: We are finding it impossible to get even an average supply of hand sanitizer, surgical face masks, or rubbing alcohol into my combined food/drug employer's warehouses.

The panic is driving what supplies there are to scarcity.

The hope is that cooler and calmer heads prevail, and an intelligently measured response to it will be put in place.

That all being said, thanks for bringing up the concern and questions -- hopefully my flight doesn't get cancelled due to unwarranted panic.

Shadow Lodge

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The situation is certainly not being helped through the spread of misinformation, you're right. If there is an epidemic in full swing in May, however, then limiting contact with other people will be a necessity and events like game conventions will be impacted.

Hopefully, most people intending to come to PaizoCon who have not yet booked travel will book refundable tickets. Those who have already booked, and I expect that will include many who are coming from overseas, may not have and so will have to look at their options.

With a bit of luck, however, more airlines will begin to offer full refunds, regardless of ticket class, if trips are canceled due to coronavirus. Yesterday, we received an email from Alaska Airlines stating that's what they're doing for trips booked within a certain period.

Liberty's Edge

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Al Rigg wrote:
With a bit of luck, however, more airlines will begin to offer full refunds, regardless of ticket class, if trips are canceled due to coronavirus. Yesterday, we received an email from Alaska Airlines stating that's what they're doing for trips booked within a certain period.

Did they up it to full refunds? When I bought the ticket through them they offered that within a year after cancelling the flight I could change the ticket to a different location, they did not have a full refund option. That option was still useful to me so I bought through them. It helped that they had the cheapest tickets.

Dark Archive

Dragnmoon wrote:
Al Rigg wrote:
With a bit of luck, however, more airlines will begin to offer full refunds, regardless of ticket class, if trips are canceled due to coronavirus. Yesterday, we received an email from Alaska Airlines stating that's what they're doing for trips booked within a certain period.
Did they up it to full refunds? When I bought the ticket through them they offered that within a year after cancelling the flight I could change the ticket to a different location, they did not have a full refund option. That option was still useful to me so I bought through them. It helped that they had the cheapest tickets.

I got the email for my trip to Gencon since I'm flying East with Alaska. In essence, if you bought after Feb 27th, you can cancel or change with no cost for travel date. Feb 28th, 2021.


Al Rigg wrote:
What's the plan, Paizo?

Sorry but while I'm sure you mean well I'm not sure you're asking for something reasonable. Please instead expect that cancellations will happen quickly, without warning and that refunds are likely not possible.

In other words my general advice to you is to not book flight tickets or hotel rooms during the coming 6 months at least if losing the money is unacceptable to you.

Al Rigg wrote:
With a bit of luck, however, more airlines will begin to offer full refunds, regardless of ticket class, if trips are canceled due to coronavirus. Yesterday, we received an email from Alaska Airlines stating that's what they're doing for trips booked within a certain period.

Not to rain on your parade, but another scenario is that airlines will start going bankrupt and be entirely unable to refund your tickets. (Not said to scare you off, but as a sober evaluation of a possible scenario)

Please purchase tickets on your own risk; ideally only if you can stand to lose the money. After all, we are in the throes of a global pandemic, so expect the unexpected and don't take "business as usual" as a given.


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Perhaps it is the jaded perspective of someone who's seen a half-dozen of these bugs come and go.

Perhaps it is the modern media hype machine that one is not tuned into.

Perhaps there is too much optimism in one's heart.

One is less worried about the COVID and more worried that people will over-react and over-react badly, and do greater harm with that bad over-reaction.

We still have two and a half months to go, at least.

Liberty's Edge

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With all due respect, you have not seen a half-dozen of these bugs come and go. This is spreading and killing people on a level that has not been seen in many many decades.

You are correct some people are over reacting, but you are also incorrect to act like this is just another outbreak of the flu. This is MUCH more serious and could very well get much much worse.

That’s the cold hard reality and it’s a mistake to downplay the situation as anything else.

Silver Crusade

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My wife handled her first COVID casualty yesterday. The victim's family quite certainly weren't media-hyped overreacters.

Mother Nature (God, genetic AI, Great Architect in the Sky, NERV, Illuminati, Greys, pick your poison) is running a beta test of what she'll use to wipe us out (or OK, at least cut us down to manageable size). How we react and prepare will determine if we live or die the moment the Real Thing hits.


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Lets make sure we respect people by not down playing the dangers that people in our community are experiencing.

I came to see if there was any official announcements as I just saw the CMON Expo cancelled and I believe it is in Atlanta and scheduled for May. So the questions are legit and the concerns are real.

Thank you OP for bringing it up and I am sorry to hear your wife has been personally impacted Gorbacz.... I live in and work in the Seattle area and the fear is real. While it was hard to find Toilet paper, no joke, I have been unable to find hand sanitizer and any n95 masks.... even Lowes and Home depot are sold out.

I am hoping that the COVID-19 burns out and runs its course by may but watching what is happening in other countries and our areas lack of resources makes it hard to believe that this will burn out quickly.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Perhaps it is the jaded perspective of someone who's seen a half-dozen of these bugs come and go.

Jaded? Maybe you meant "ignorant"?

There's only been five pandemics since the year 1900: the Sixth Cholera Pandemic, the Spanish Flu, the Asian Flu, the Hong Kong Flu, and HIV.


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Gorbacz wrote:

My wife handled her first COVID casualty yesterday. The victim's family quite certainly weren't media-hyped overreacters.

Mother Nature (God, genetic AI, Great Architect in the Sky, NERV, Illuminati, Greys, pick your poison) is running a beta test of what she'll use to wipe us out (or OK, at least cut us down to manageable size). How we react and prepare will determine if we live or die the moment the Real Thing hits.

I'm sorry for their loss and hope that your wife has good health in the future.

May the cure/vaccine develop sooner rather than later, and may people respect the personal space of others going forward.

May peace and harmony likewise be found on our path to hard-earned wisdom.


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Emerald City Comic Con was just cancelled. It was next Friday, but that still sucks. Probably for the best considering we are still at the beginning of this thing..... Here's hoping by May it will have fizzled out....


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Yoshua wrote:
Emerald City Comic Con was just cancelled. It was next Friday, but that still sucks. Probably for the best considering we are still at the beginning of this thing..... Here's hoping by May it will have fizzled out....

Damn. Sorry to hear that, Yoshua.


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It looks like Emerald City Comic Con may have been postponed (to a summer date as yet TBD) rather than canceled completely.


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David knott 242 wrote:


It looks like Emerald City Comic Con may have been postponed (to a summer date as yet TBD) rather than canceled completely.

Yeah, but when you plan for this thing a year out, have a hotel booked. It's hard to redistribute funds when you already have vacations for Summer planned. And PaizoCon of course :D


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I'd love to hear from Paizo as well on this subject. This is my first PaizoCon, I'm super excited, but I'd also be very OK with a postponement to a later summer date. If we could have a go/no-go date regarding the Con decision, it would be nice.


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Given other contractual obligations, it'd probably be unlikely to be a reschedule situation...

Origins is in June, Gen Con in August, and the amount of work/commitment to those is pretty significant.

That's just my take versus anything official...

Silver Crusade

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The Emerald City Comic Con, which was supposed to run this month, got postponed indefinitely, so nothing is impossible.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Given other contractual obligations, it'd probably be unlikely to be a reschedule situation...

Expect impacted events to simply skip a year: they will likely be cancelled, because rescheduling is most often simply not possible.


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Hopefully this gets handled and serves as a cautionary tale for the future of conventions and mass meeting events -- 'con crud' has been a thing for conventions for decades and maybe something can be learned from implementing better protocols for handling such?

Thinking about it, will GMs be allowed to 'bounce' players who are visibly ill from their tables?

Will GMs be legitimately allowed to 'call in sick' if they aren't feeling well for a slot?

EDIT: Clarification required here -- any GM can in theory 'call in sick' for a given table. However, there is a great deal of social pressure (and in some cases incentives for GMing) that may be at risk for doing so.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Hopefully this gets handled and serves as a cautionary tale for the future of conventions and mass meeting events -- 'con crud' has been a thing for conventions for decades and maybe something can be learned from implementing better protocols for handling such?

Thinking about it, will GMs be allowed to 'bounce' players who are visibly ill from their tables?

Will GMs be legitimately allowed to 'call in sick' if they aren't feeling well for a slot?

It is much simpler than that: don't go if exposure to "crud" is unacceptable to you. Especially this year.

Framing this as something somebody else should "handle", or worse, putting the responsibility on individual GMs, is entirely the wrong tack, if you ask me.

Instead expect players and GMs to only be human. Humans inevitably make bad judgement calls (such as going to 'cons even though they might feel under the weather). That's just a fact of life.

Example: getting angry and frustrated at the sneezing passenger next to you on the bus is, while understandable, not a useful and constructive way to direct your energies, compared to, say, deciding to not taking the bus - if getting exposed to your fellow humans is unacceptable to you.

In short: take responsibility for your own con experience yourself :)

Grand Lodge Premier Event Coordinator

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“Off Topic”:
Not speaking specifically to corona, but in general, a GM always has the ability to “call off” or to refuse to run for a particular player, sick or otherwise. They are a volunteer after all. With respect to the premier events, we look at this from the perspective of trending. We don’t really care why someone fails to show up for their commitment. We’re not going to treat them like children and make them bring us a doctor’s note. They could be sick. They could be hung over. They could have over slept. They could have just decided not to show up. The why is not important. We just make a note of it and move on. Unless there is a really strong reason to do so, we don’t take action against someone for a single occurrence. However, if they start to demonstrate a history of unreliability, then we may place restrictions on their ability to volunteer at future events.

Liberty's Edge

It looks like Seattle will be banning gatherings of 250 or more people. Not sure how long it will last


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The current end date is April 9th according to one source I read, but that could easily change.

Liberty's Edge

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End of March with the likelihood of it been extended beyond that.

Vigilant Seal

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Daniel Araujo wrote:
I'd love to hear from Paizo as well on this subject. This is my first PaizoCon, I'm super excited, but I'd also be very OK with a postponement to a later summer date. If we could have a go/no-go date regarding the Con decision, it would be nice.

I totally agree with you. I called Alaska Airlines and they basically said I couldn't get my money back which I think is BS. That's what I get for getting my tickets before late February. If I could reschedule I would be very happy to go in the Summer.


I will be surprised if they don't cancel.


BFG Con in Maryland just cancelled.


Darrell Lunari wrote:
It looks like Seattle will be banning gatherings of 250 or more people. Not sure how long it will last

looks like this is the go to number that many states are banning gatherings of this size and larger.

NY, NY, MD are in this perhaps several other states.


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Emerald City is on for some time this summer. I got an email from them sying that they cancelled my hotel booking for me (a formality, as I had done it myself Friday morning when the announcement came down). The exact date for the con is up in the air, due to the sheer amount of balls they have to juggle: venues, vendors, and guests. This also cuts into the time they have to prepare for 2021, unless they decide to push the date back. ECCC has March pretty well staked out.

Disneyland is closed until the end of the month for sure.

Silver Crusade

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I appreciate them not canceling sooner than they need to. There is something to be said for waiting and seeing until there is a point of no return with regard to expense or resources.

I am really hoping to get back to PaizoCon!


I am being optimistic and planning on things being more normal by May. I think it would be a bit premature to cancel this far out. Of course, I’m sure if things are still dire at that point they’ll cancel. I’m kinda glad I waited to buy plane tickets. I might wait a bit more now.


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I would probably stay away from Paizo Con even without this epidemic. Just check all the references to "Con Crud" in previous years. But obviously anyone who has already made reservations wasn't deterred by that factor.

Another issue is that the Seattle area was the first area in the US that was hard hit by this virus. I wouldn't be surprised if that area is in the clear by Paizo Con but much of the rest of the country is in their current state by the end of May.

Horizon Hunters

I moved about 20 minutes from Paizocon 3 years ago. This is the first year I was going to be able to make it, and a pandemic occurs. Just my luck.


Americans need to take more personal responsibility IMHO. Yes, we're all humans and we make mistakes.

Bottom line - If YOU are sick, it is YOUR responsibility to protect others. Let's not forget Mythbusters episode 147, Flu Fiction. Two lessons we still don't quite have down as a culture:
1. Cough and sneeze into an elbow. It reduces potential spray of germs from 12-20ft to around 2ft.
2. No matter how germaphopic and hand sanitizer hoardy you are, if someone around you is sick and not practicing proper protocol, you WILL be exposed.

If YOU are sick:
1. Wash your hands regularly. It's easy to underestimate how often we touch our faces, a source of germs.
2. Cough/Sneeze into your elbows.
3. Wear a cough/sneeze mask. It doesn't have to be a N95 mask. This is extra important as a 2nd layer of protection - we're human and won't remember to use the elbows reaction every time.
4. Avoid touching other people's hands/face/genitals with your own.
5. Clean your home with SOAP and WATER. It's tempting to use chemical sanitizer but that will weaken the immunity of everyone around you.

These things are more prevalent in Asian cultures since SARS, MRSA, avian flu, and swine flu were focused there. We should get with the picture.

Be positive, though! If you're worried, find a way to enjoy being home. However, expecting someone else to do their part, I say is not a crime. It requires social pressure to make a cultural change.

I'll be playing online PFS games instead this year :)

Liberty's Edge

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David knott 242 wrote:


I would probably stay away from Paizo Con even without this epidemic. Just check all the references to "Con Crud" in previous years. But obviously anyone who has already made reservations wasn't deterred by that factor.

Another issue is that the Seattle area was the first area in the US that was hard hit by this virus. I wouldn't be surprised if that area is in the clear by Paizo Con but much of the rest of the country is in their current state by the end of May.

Possibly, but in that scenario, folks that have it (including those that don’t know it) are still coming to Seattle from all around the country which potentially (likely) causes a second outbreak. That’s what is contributing to this pandemic - people are moving around instead of staying put.

Even if Seattle is in great shape by the time the convention rolls around, if the virus is still rampant in other parts of the country, they really should still cancel or postpone.

Grand Lodge

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Should we be considering a virtual PaizoCon? Having the panels online on Twitch? Moving the games to online? Doing a shorter virtual banquet? Although I was hoping this year to preview my first adventure at the convention, I also want all my friends to be safe and healthy.

Hugs,
Hmm


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I am hoping that if they need to cancel the physical con, which at this time looks, unfortunately, likely, that they will be able to move much of it online. Many of the talks, panels, and presentations could be done via Twitch. Many of the games played online.

I would miss seeing and chatting with friends, and virtual hugs are just not the same, but there is a large supportive community that Paizo could tap into to help them if needed.

I hope they are considering their options already.

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.

Silver Crusade

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*nods*

I wouldn’t mind paying for a online con/virtual ticket.


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This makes a lot of sense. If I was at Fantasy Grounds or Roll20, that would be the conversation I’d be trying to initiate with Paizo (or vice versa). Great opportunity to both support the community and drive visibility of my platform.


It may be that the attempts at containment will last for several weeks at most. There is more than enough time before the end of May. By then I believe we will be out of the coronavirus cautionary measures.

Silver Crusade

As I see it, I would not be pushing for anything until mid-late April. The Con here in TN was "postponed" until the threat is more manageable.

One thing that has been shown in China, reported cases are <25 a day now what at the cap it was 500+ a day. So let's see what happens over the next 4-6 weeks.

Grand Lodge

It will be important to see what happens in China as everything opens back up and people start mingling again.

The CDC also just recommended no 50+ gatherings four eight weeks, which ends a little before when PaizoCon is scheduled.

All Washington schools are closed until April 25th... I'll reassess my plans at that time. Luckily I don't have to make flight decisions, so I can be more flexible than many of you. If it's cancelled it'll be too bad... but pretty minor in the scheme of things.

I hope to see you all soon, if not there! Certainly a highlight of the year.


Shivok wrote:
It may be that the attempts at containment will last for several weeks at most. There is more than enough time before the end of May. By then I believe we will be out of the coronavirus cautionary measures.

British health officials believe the corona virus crisis could last 12 months and lead to nearly eight million people requiring hospitalization in the country.

link

So, again, don't make any bookings and reservations you can't afford to simply lose with no reimbursement.

The Exchange

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GaryCon in Lake Geneva WI. was cancelled this weekend. They are expanding the Virtual GaryCon on tabletop.events.

Silver Crusade

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Hey, a Virtual Paizo Con could be a cool idea, I could participate, for once :)


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I probably would still miss it.


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FYI, Governor Inslee has reduced the threshold to 50+ for event banning. King County Executive Dow Constantine (Sealttle, Paizo, and PaizoCon are in KC) has prohibited events smaller than 50 unless social-distancing (keeping 6 ft between yourself and others) can be maintained. All theatres, restaurants, bars, etc in the state are closed except for take out options.

These restrictions currently expire prior to PaizoCon, but there is every expectation they will be extended for the duration of the crisis. The extreme mortality rate for elderly (~15% for 80+) makes this a necessity.

A bit contradictorily, the better we weather this here in Seattle, the longer the restrictions are likely to go on.

Zapp is right that if you're basing timelines off of prior experience, you need to reevaluate.

I *LOVE* PaizoCon - it's at least three of the top ten reasons I moved to Seattle. I'm sure Lisa and Co are taking everything into consideration, but it would probably be unwise to hold the Con, even if it is legal to do so. {Please note, that's just my opinion at this point in time}

Time is short to make an online convention for the same dates, but I think doable and worthwhile. Edit: And I will /mail/ Goblin Brains if necessary.

Shadow Lodge

RavenCon has just been Cancelled (Williamsburg VA)... also Adepticon (not an RpG con per se but still a major gamers con) cancelled a few days ago.

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