San Diego Convention Center Transitioning to Homeless Shelter, Comic-Con Decision May Not Be Made Until June

The San Diego Convention Center will be used as a homeless shelter during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The convention is the home of the annual Comic-Con International: San Diego, the biggest comics and pop culture convention in the United States. Despite the venue being converted for emergency use, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the event's organizers haven't decided to cancel or delay this year's event, which typically sees 135,000 people descend on downtown San Diego in July. “We applaud the actions of the city as they offer additional support to some of our community’s most vulnerable in these unprecedented times,” Comic-Con said in a statement. “And while we continue to explore WonderCon dates, we are diligently working on Comic-Con. Currently, our hope is that the event will occur July 23-26, 2020, as scheduled.”

WonderCon is San Diego Comic-Con's smaller, Anaheim-based sister show. This year's WonderCon was scheduled to take place in April but has been delayed. In a statement released at the time, the organizers stated, "To protect public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health announced a recommendation that gatherings and events of more than 250 people should either be postponed or cancelled. Comic-Con (organizer of WonderCon) will abide by this recommendation. Therefore WonderCon Anaheim, scheduled for April 10-12, 2020 in Anaheim, California, will be postponed until a later date. We will begin processing refunds in the coming days."

At that time, the organizers stated they were still mulling their options in regards to San Diego Comic-Con 2020. "Comic-Con is working with local officials as it pertains to the COVID-19 situation and continues to monitor developments closely."

San Diego Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi tells The Union-Tribune that he is in contact with Comic-Con about their plans for this year's event. “We have been in constant contact with Comic-Con, which just went through a very difficult situation with Wonder Con,” Terzi said. “In our last conversation, which was last week, they said it’s business as usual and they continue to plan for July in San Diego. Logistically, it’s a very complex event to have, and they have a lot of work they have to do but they’ve been doing it for more than 40 years."

As for when a decision will be made, Terzi says, "From a noticing standpoint, my belief is they would have to make a decision by June.”

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If Comic-Con is delayed, it would be the latest in a series of such postponements for pop culture events. In addition to WonderCon, Emerald City Comic Con was also forced to delay this year's event.

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