As more and more people announced their plan to skip Emerald City Comic Con because of concerns regarding COVID-19, one of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds was whether the convention would actually go on as planned next week. While ECCC isn’t being cancelled outright, things are changing for the convention.
Today, Reed Exhibitions released a public statement announcing that ECCC is being postponed until some time in the summer, presumably at a point in which there are more effective measures in place to deal with the spread of the coronavirus.
“We have been closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 virus in Seattle, and, after many hours of conversation internally and consultation with local government officials and the tourism bureau, we have decided to move next week’s Emerald City Comic Con to Summer 2020 with date and detail announcement forthcoming,” the statement reads. “We did everything that we could to run the event as planned, but ultimately, we are following the guidance of the local public health officials indicating that conventions should now be postponed.”
The announcement comes after ECCC’s organisers offered refunds to anyone who bought tickets for the convention, and while the measure is obviously meant to be in the public’s best interest, the con’s rescheduling is almost certainly going to lead to headaches for people who’ve already booked travel to and accommodations in Seattle. It’s good that the convention’s being postponed if only for the fact that comic book conventions are precisely the kinds of social gatherings that one should really avoid in the midst of a viral outbreak.
But the larger issue is still that we don’t have a reliable approach to actually dealing with the coronavirus’ spread, meaning that as we get deeper into con season, organisers are going to think very hard about if and how they’re going to put on these shows and convince people to come to them. With con season just getting into full-swing—WonderCon is set for April 10-12 at the Anaheim Convention Centre in California–we’ll be keeping an eye on this developing story.