California Health Secretary Says L.A. Comic-Con Is Inconsistent With State Guidance

The convention circuit has been profoundly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with many prominent events trying to move online or reschedule their dates altogether in the wake of the virus' spread. L.A. Comic Con recently expressed a desire to turn the tide, by announcing plans to host an in-person event this December, with "early bird" tickets going on sale this morning. The event outlined their theoretical restrictions that would allow the proceedings to happen while compliant to COVID-19 restrictions -- but it sounds like things will be a bit more complicated than that. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services Secretary, provided updates on the state's status amid the pandemic on Tuesday. When asked about L.A. Comic-Con, Ghaly expressed that the event is "inconsistent" with current state guidance. While Ghaly did acknowledge that the event is far away - especially in terms of how quickly the virus has been evolving - he argued that the plans are "premature", especially with Los Angeles County currently experiencing a widespread amount of cases.

Ghaly revealed that he is unaware of L.A. Comic Con's organizers consulting his staff on the event. He did reveal that state guidelines for convention centers will be available soon, but that it will apply to counties that are in the orange (moderate) and yellow (minimal) tiers of California's reopening plan.

L.A. Comic Con first announced their 2020 plans on Monday, including a list of safety procedures that they would theoretically be putting in place. These would include mandating that each person attending wear a mask and practice social distancing, including standing six feet apart from others. The event also plans to rent out the entire convention center, allowing for 1.2 million square feet of convention space, more entry points, and each "major activity" being split up into its own hall. Each day of the convention will also be split into two 5-hour sessions, with industrial cleaning before, in between, and after each session. The event also plans to sell no more than 12,000 tickets to each individual session, with a goal of lowering "fan density" at the event by 75%. If fans don't want to physically attend the event, digital live streams would also be available.

The post from L.A. Comic Con did stress that the December event ultimately could be canceled or postponed, in the event of state or county health officials telling them not to host the event. If that ends up being the case, all tickets purchased will be able to be refunded or roll over to a future event.

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h/t: Deadline