COVID-19 Policy

Worldcons are more than just a convention: they are a community. As members of this community, we all have a duty to protect each other and to protect our friends, families, and peers. This has been true from the very first Worldcon in 1939, and it remains true today.

The Chicon 8 Committee aims to continue this tradition of providing a welcoming, supportive, and safe environment for all members of the science fiction and fantasy community. We have a responsibility to provide and maintain a safe convention experience for everyone from members and volunteers to staff and hotel employees and even to the community at large. We can’t protect from every danger, but we can do our best to protect from infectious conditions that are lessened by effective vaccination programs.

This policy is based upon guidance provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of April 10, 2022. Chicon 8 reserves the right to update or modify this policy as needed during this evolving situation.

The following is the current official Chicon 8 Policy related to preventing the spread of COVID-19:

Proof of Full Vaccination

To attend Chicon 8 in person, members and guests of Chicon 8 who are of legal age to receive the COVID vaccines must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the convention with a full course of vaccination approved for human use, including those authorized for emergency use, as a COVID vaccine.This means you must have received the full course of COVID vaccine, as defined by the CDC or, for those traveling to the U.S., as accepted by US Customs for entry, two weeks prior to arriving at Chicon 8.

The vaccinations will be confirmed as part of Registration. Each person must present proof of vaccination, and attendees over the age of 18 must show a government issued photo identification matching the name shown on the proof of vaccination. We understand that there are numerous good reasons why they may not match and exceptions to the verification will be handled on a case by case basis. Email questions and concerns to our COVID team.

Masks Must Be Worn

COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool to help stop the pandemic, but they don’t mean we can stop taking all precautionary measures. Properly worn masks covering nose and mouth are required for all convention members and guests over the age of 5 in all convention spaces, during move-in, the convention, and move-out, except when actively eating or drinking in designated areas. Failure to comply is a Code of Conduct violation and may be subject to disciplinary action.

Please see our FAQ below, if you have any questions about this policy.

FAQ

Testing

What Should I Do If I Test Positive?

If you test positive for COVID while attending or immediately after attending Chicon 8, first please isolate. The convention would appreciate you informing our COVID team to facilitate contact tracing within the convention. Your name and personally identifiable information will be kept private, unless you specifically request that we release it publicly. 

You should also review the City of Chicago’s COVID contract tracing website.

Where Can I Get a COVID Test?

For the benefit of travelers who need COVID PCR tests to return to their home country or anyone else who desires a COVID test, Chicago provides a map of the COVID test sites in the city.

We are looking into options for having testing available at Chicon 8 and will update this FAQ as more information is available.

Vaccines

Which Vaccines Are Acceptable?

Any vaccine authorized in the country in which the vaccine was received, including authorization for emergency use, for human use as a COVID vaccine is acceptable.The CDC list of approved vaccines can be found here.

I Was a Participant in a Vaccine Trial; Is This Acceptable?

Please contact our COVID team directly so we can evaluate your situation on a case-by-case basis.

What Does “Fully Vaccinated” Mean?

According to the CDC, a person is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving all recommended doses in the primary series of their COVID-19 vaccination. You must have received the last dose of the primary series two weeks before arriving at Chicon 8. The date of vaccination will be confirmed as part of Registration.

The CDC provides information on vaccines authorized in the United States. For other vaccines, please consult with health experts in your country.

Do I Need a Booster Shot?

A booster shot is not a requirement for entry. We are aware that some countries advise booster shots for some individuals. As general health advice Chicon 8 encourages its members to follow whatever policies are in place in their country of residence and to consult their doctor as needed.

In the US the CDC currently recommends booster shots to everyone 18 and older. Booster shots can be received six months after completing a two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Other countries recommend other dosing intervals and have set availability at different age points.

What Forms of Proof of Vaccination Will Be Accepted?

We will accept original vaccination cards, digital or physical photographs or photocopies of vaccination cards (front and back), or electronic documentation provided by your country or state of origin, including print-outs of such documentation. This documentation should be provided in person at the Registration desk on site.

If you are concerned about the acceptability of your particular form of documentation (for example, your documentation is not in English and may not be understood by Chicon 8 staff), we encourage you to contact our COVID team in advance.

What If the Name on My ID and the Name on My Vaccination Card Do Not Match?

We know that there are many real reasons that a mismatch may occur, particularly among trans and nonbinary people as well as others who may have changed their names. We are happy to accommodate people in this situation on a case by case basis. To speed up the badge pickup process, contact our COVID team with the subject line: Name Mismatch [registration name] and outline your specific situation so that our staff can work with you ahead of time.

What Do You Mean by “Legal Age to Be Vaccinated”?

At the time of this writing, U.S. children under the age of 5 cannot legally be vaccinated. Some other countries have differing age limits for children.

We are allowing U.S. children under the age of 5 and children under the legal vaccination age of other countries from which they came to attend the convention. The number of children attending who are in this age group is expected to be small and we believe the risk to be minimal. 

We understand some individuals may still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. We recommend visiting the CDC’s page Myths and Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines for more information.

Masks

What Counts As a Mask?

A mask should completely cover your nose and mouth with material that can effectively filter droplets and aerosolized particles. It should fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps. Nose wires are recommended to improve fit, and multiple layers are generally more effective. Face shields and gaiters are not an acceptable alternative to masks, although they can be worn in addition to masks if you desire. For more information on masking, please visit the CDC Guide to Masks.

When Do I Have to Wear a Mask?

Masks must be worn during the move-in, during the convention, and during the move-out. We would appreciate members wearing their masks after the convention ends until they have left the convention spaces.

I Can’t Wear a Mask for a Medical Reason. What Should I Do?

Chicon 8 requires all members over the age of 5 to wear masks in convention spaces, except while actively eating or drinking in designated areas. We encourage you to work with your medical professionals to try to find a style of mask that works for you before the convention. Alternatively, you can choose to attend the convention virtually.

What If I Lose or Break My Mask?

Chicon 8 advises bringing multiple masks to the convention, and having a second mask in your pocket or bag at all times for back-up. We will have surgical masks available for free at the Info Desk and Registration for emergencies.

Where Can I Remove My Mask to Eat at the Con?

There will be designated public areas in the convention areas where you can remove your mask to eat and drink. If eating you must be seated at a table, you may not walk and eat. We recommend that people do not spend more than 30 minutes eating in order to allow others their opportunity.

I’m Thirsty and I’m Not in a Designated Area, What Should I Do?

You can take your mask down briefly in any area of the convention to take a drink, ideally from a resealable container. Carrying a beverage is not a reason to have your mask off, nor is continually taking sips of liquid over a prolonged period of time.

I Saw Some Dealers/Fan Table Staff Eating, How Come They Can?

While we are encouraging Dealers and those staffing Fan Tables, Site Selection, etc. to eat in designated spaces we understand that they may not be able to find coverage for their table, so they are permitted to eat in the Exhibit Hall but must remask if approached by other attendees. Other attendees are not allowed to eat or drink in the Exhibit Hall.

Why Aren’t Hotel and Convention Center Staff Wearing Masks?

We cannot control the policies that the Hyatt Regency has for their staff. If you have a concern about an unmasked facility employee, please talk to a Chicon 8 staff member.

Can I Eat or Drink at a Party?

While eating and drinking is permitted inside hotel rooms and suites that are hosting parties, we would strongly encourage people to keep their masks on as much as possible. If you leave the party room or suite you must be masked.

Travel

For those traveling to the United States, please review the guidance from the Department of Homeland Security.