What UK Conventions Are Affected By Coronavirus?

With the impact of coronavirus becoming more apparent by the day, the news that shook the gaming industry this week was the official cancellation of E3 2020. Ever since COVID-19 went global, major events such as conventions have been cancelled left, right and center.

Over in the UK, the situation has heated up within the last 24 hours. All professional football has been cancelled, the local elections are delayed, and universities are closing their doors. But what is the fate of our conventions? While gatherings of more than one hundred people have been warned against, some conventions are clinging on and hoping the situation will blow over by the summer. Here’s the current news on the UK’s most popular comic book, gaming and anime conventions.

Leeds Anime & Gaming Con – Going ahead as planned

Original date: March 14-15

New date: No change

Location: Leeds, Leeds Marriott 

While this event is going ahead as planned, the crew behind Leeds Anime & Gaming Con have acknowledged the virus, and massively overhauled their organization for the day.

They will follow a “Check, Provide, Remind” (CPR) policy. In real terms this means that anyone showing symptoms will be asked to leave the convention. They will also provide free hand sanitizer, as well as frequently wipe down items such as game controllers that will have hundreds of hands on them throughout the event.

EGX Rezzed 2020 – Delayed

Original date: March 26 – 28

New date: Summer 

Location: London, Tobacco Dock

This smaller version of the annual EGX convention, which focuses on the indie scene, is one of the latest delays amid the coronavirus outbreak. March 13th, less than two weeks before the show was set to start, EGX organizers made the announcement that the convention would be delayed until Summer 2020.

A more specific date has yet to be announced. In the announcement, EGX said: “We did everything that we could to try to run the event as planned, but ultimately, maintaining social distancing is neither feasible at, nor in the spirit of, the interactive and community nature of Rezzed. It is the community that makes Rezzed so special and it is our duty to make sure that your safety comes first.”

MCM Birmingham Comic Con – Delayed

Original date: March 21 – 22

New date: June 27 – 28

Location: Birmingham, The NEC

In a big blow to the UK geek community, MCM Birmingham will be delayed by three months to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In a statement, they claim that they attempted to follow the guidelines set out by the World Health Organization (WHO), but have decided to act upon the concerns of their community and postpone the event.

All tickets for the March convention will still be valid for June, and anyone who is unable to attend the new date can request a refund.

Manchester Anime & Gaming Con – Going ahead as planned

Original date: April 4 – 5

New date: No change

Locations: Manchester, Sugden Sports Centre 

As it is organized by the same team behind the Leeds Anime & Gaming Con, the sister event in Manchester is also going ahead.

Manchester Anime & Gaming con will also follow the “Check, Provide, Remind” system, so anyone showing signs of having the coronavirus will be asked to leave and seek medical attention.

Insomnia66 – Cancelled

Original date: April 10 – 13

New date: Cancelled 

Location: Birmingham, The NEC

This event is the most recent cancellation, with the Insomnia Gaming Fest tweeting the news last Friday afternoon. They will be offering full refunds for any ticket holders, and say that they “will be dedicating time to working with our partners and exhibitors to make our summer show better than ever.”

That summer event, Insominia67, is set to take place in the same location August 28-31.

MCM London Comic Con – Going ahead as planned

Original date: May 29 – 31

New date: No change

Location: London, ExCel Center

While there hasn’t been any official comment on the coronavirus and its effect on the immensely popular MCM London, I wouldn’t go booking your hotel rooms yet. No news isn’t good news (I got my EGX pass just two days before the delay), and with MCM Birmingham being delayed until after the London counterpart, it’s difficult to see how the same organizer will pull this off beforehand.

With that being said, if they’ve taken the time to make an announcement with Birmingham, but not London, that might bode well. Best advice is to wait a few weeks before you make concrete plans. And please do not go into a convention hall of 10,000 people if you are exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus.

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