NYCC 2022: ReedPop Fails To Uphold Its Own Masking Policy

by Brendan M. Allen

It’s already been addressed a few times in articles and on social media, but no, New York Comic Con did not, in fact, enforce any sort of mask policy this past weekend. 

This is the first convention I even considered attending since 2020, and one of the major factors in that decision was NYCC’s announced policy that they would be enforcing a stiff masking policy. They said they’d be making cosplayers take off their helmets to prove they had an approved mask underneath. That they’d be walking the floors checking to make sure everyone continued to mask. That badgeholders would be denied entry or removed from the show for noncompliance.

None of this happened. Not even once.

One of my sons has complex medical issues. I still mask everywhere. I know this is my choice, and I would never tell anyone else they have to do anything. I do, however, schedule my errands, social outings, and major trips, say, from California to NYC, around masking and distancing.

At the show, I skipped about half the panels I had committed to covering, because the lines were packed, and no one was masked. Sorry, not sorry. It’s not worth risking my own health, or bringing something home to my kid. I tried to make up for it with extra interviews and other content, and I shifted some of my focus to the smaller panels that had more open spaces for people to spread out. (There’s a fantastic panel on adaptive cosplay that I’ll be putting up in the next couple days.)

Again, I would never tell anyone what’s best for them or their families, but if a venue announces a policy, and I spend thousands of dollars on travel, food, and lodging, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that those policies are actually enforced. 

I was still able to carve out a good time, but it was made exponentially harder by the lack of follow through on ReedPop’s promise. I have been doing this masking/distancing thing for a minute. My family has been wearing masks in high risk situations since we got my son’s diagnosis seven years ago.

We’ve been hyper aware of the flu, hand washing, and proximity of strangers in public. We’ve bailed on parties when people have shown up with boogery kids. We’ve had groceries delivered and gone to the grocery store in the middle of the night. We’ve relied on friends and family to keep us updated on who in their family is sick, so we can stay away. We’ve lost friends and pissed off family members who just don’t get it.

None of this is new for me, but it’s disappointing, to say the least. Do better, ReedPop. Either enforce your own policies, or make it known that there is no policy so that people can plan their experiences around their own needs. 

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