COVID POLICY FOR FUR THE MORE

(Until updated here after discussion, this will continue to be our policy for 2023. We welcome input from our attendees)

In order to provide a safer environment for our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mid-Atlantic Anthropomorphic Association, Inc. is implementing the following health & safety policies at Fur the ‘More 2022. When you arrive to Fur the ‘More and pick up your badge, you will need to confirm that you understand and agree to abide by these policies on-site, including our vaccination & masking policies.

We have developed these policies in accordance with government regulations, CDC guidance, and currently available scientific data. Please note that as pandemic conditions change, we may update these policies to maximize the safety of our attendees. We will make every effort to communicate changes promptly so that you can make informed decisions about your attendance.

We don’t like having to do this stuff either and we wish it wasn’t necessary.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in maintaining a safe and fun live event.

AFTER THE EVENT
First things first: act as if you have definitely come into contact with COVID-19. Though we did everything we could to make the event safe, we still urge you to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to people in your life who are immunocompromised or otherwise unable to be vaccinated (e.g., relatives who are under 5 or elderly).
• Continue to wear a mask in public indoor settings.
• Schedule a PCR test if you haven’t already done so.
• If you test positive, notify us using this form https://forms.gle/xWzkyNkUriU11XCU9 so we can assist in contact tracing.
• Continue using the contact-tracing app you used at-event for at least 10 days (leave it active and do not switch to another contact-tracing app

UPDATE: 08 MAR 2022

  • 1 report of a COVID Positive test within a few days of the event. No further information available.

TL;DR: ANY PERSON PRESENT AT FUR THE ‘MORE 2022 MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED, MUST BRING PROOF OF VACCINATION, AND MUST WEAR A MASK. FOR THE FULL DETAILS, PLEASE READ ON!

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
• Dig out and bring your vaccination proof, and make sure it meets our criteria!
• Stock up on masks and hand sanitizer—and maybe a rapid test or two, just in case.
• Schedule a lab COVID test before AND after the event. (It’s not required, but it might help.)
• Download Virginia’s COVIDWISE app or enable it in exposure notifications setting on your phone.
• Bookmark https://www.furthemore.org/covid — any at-event updates will appear here, as well as a form to self-report a positive test.

AT THE EVENT
• It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you enable your phone exposure notification for Virginia or download and activate the Virginia COVIDWISE application ( https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covidwise/ ). This will help tracking and tracing immensely for any positive cases.
• If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at the event, please self-isolate. If possible, get a rapid test.  Use this form to report your situation: https://forms.gle/xWzkyNkUriU11XCU9

If you need assistance, contact our convention operations center through telegram at https://t.me/fmconops and request a private conversation
• If you test positive while at the event or within 10 days of the event:
. . . o    If you are at the event, please make the necessary arrangements to go home safely.
. . . o Please report your test results to us using this form: https://forms.gle/xWzkyNkUriU11XCU9
. . . o Please use your phone exposure notification or the COVIDWISE app to report your positive result so that others can be notified as well.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US
• We’re serious about checking vaccination proof. Make sure you bring the required documentation with you when you register.
• We’re serious about enforcing masking, as are our hosts at the Hyatt. Help create a culture of responsible mask use by wearing yours properly and reminding others to do so.
• Hours and programming in some spaces may be reduced or subject to change to accommodate distancing, air circulation, and sanitization.

VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS
All attendees at Fur the ‘More 2022 (including minors, volunteers, staff, guests, contractors, and vendors) are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. You will therefore be required to show proof of vaccination in order to pick up your badge on-site. Fur the More will not store information about your vaccination status; a visual check of your documentation will be completed by our registration staff.

Fully vaccinated at this time follows CDC standards for definition.  Specifically, all shots of your initial shot series (2 for Moderna/Pfizer, 1 for J&J).  However, we strongly encourage, beg and plead with you to get a booster.  Lets make it safer for everyone.

Acceptable vaccination documentation includes:
• an original physical vaccination card (No copies), or
• a digital vaccination record issued by a government body, healthcare provider, or authorized COVID-19 vaccine administrator, either displayed on your smart device or printed out (such as VaxYes, Vaccinecheck.us, MyIR, ShowMeVax, or IIS), or
• a third-party app that validates your vaccination record with a government body, healthcare provider, or authorized COVID-19 vaccine administrator (such as the SMART Health Card or Common Pass) The free/self-reported versions of apps like CLEAR and AZOVA are NOT acceptable.

Please plan to bring one of the three options listed above. Regrettably, if you cannot produce an acceptable form of vaccination documentation when you register on-site, you will not be permitted to pick up your badge. If you have any concerns about whether your proof of vaccination meets the above criteria, please email registration@furthemore.org BEFORE the event so that we can better support you.

Your vaccination documentation MUST clearly demonstrate that the document presented belongs to you, meaning it must match the name and date of birth on the government-issued photo identification that you use to pick up your badge. If you have legally changed your name since your vaccination, or are in the process of doing so, please also bring proof of your name change.

Your vaccination documentation MUST ALSO clearly demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated according to the current CDC definition, meaning it must show your vaccination type and date(s) so that our registration staff can confirm that you have received your second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or your first dose of a single-dose vaccine, at least 14 days before arriving on-site at the event. This means that for most attendees, your final vaccination must be on or before FEBRUARY 17th, 2022. For staff, contractors, and others arriving on-site before Thursday, March 3rd, 2022, your final vaccination must be on or before FEBRUARY 15th, 2022. We will accept all COVID-19 vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization or full approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

If booster shots are recommended for your demographic by the CDC and are available in your area in time for the event, we strongly encourage you to get a booster, too--this can help keep us all safer! Especially considering the science showing that the initial vaccine effectiveness declined over a six-month period since receiving it.

Again, if you have any concerns about whether your proof of vaccination meets the above criteria, please email registration@furthemore.org BEFORE the event so that we can better support you (for example, if you have a non-standard vaccine card, an international vaccine card, a third-party digital vaccine passport, etc.).

Please do not send us physical or digital copies of your vaccination documentation. Any documentation we receive before the event will be immediately destroyed in accordance with data privacy laws.

We will not accept negative COVID tests in lieu of vaccination documentation for individuals who are unable to be vaccinated. We understand that although there are almost no contraindications to receiving vaccination, that some people may have a medical exemption request written by their doctor. We appreciate this, but we will not be allowing any exceptions to our policy. We hope that you understand and will join us when participating in our event won’t endanger your health and life. As a reminder, falsifying government records is a criminal offense, and as our Code of Conduct helpfully clarifies, we have both a civic and a moral responsibility to report any such activities to the appropriate authorities.

As of November 1, 2021, badge sales are now open to individuals ages 5 and up. All attendees, including children, must be vaccinated in accordance with the policies listed above.

A SPECIAL NOTE FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF CHILDREN NOT YET OLD ENOUGH TO BE VACCINATED
Please know that you and your family are enormously important to us. As of 7 Feb 2022, children under 5 are unable to be vaccinated. While we certainly want you to be at our event, if you have a child under the age of 5, we strongly encourage you to not come to our event this year. We will be doing everything we can to ensure a safe environment, but with 18% of all COVID cases being in children, having your young child present puts then at considerable risk of infection and death. Please consider that in your decision to come or not.

MASKING REQUIREMENTS
Acceptable face coverings must be worn properly at all times in any Fur the ‘More event space. Yes, even if you are vaccinated, which you also must be to attend.

Acceptable face coverings:
• Are entirely made of tightly woven material (mesh masks, damaged masks, or masks with ventilation valves, are NOT acceptable unless paired with another mask that meets the requirements).
• Certain powered respirators that have filters are permitted (i.e., Razer Zephyr, Xupermask, and similar).  The filters must be installed. We may ask you to step to a safe area to have you show the filters installed.
• Have 2+ layers of material (gaiters are NOT acceptable--although we know the CDC permits gaiters with 2+ layers, it’s difficult for our staff to distinguish this briefly, so we will not be permitting them).
• Fit snugly around the sides of your face, above your nose, and under your chin (bandanas or face shields are NOT acceptable unless paired with another mask that meets the requirements). The only faceshield we will accept will be one that completely seals around the face and has a filter built in.  (EXAMPLE)

Must be worn properly:
• Fully covering your nose and mouth (wearing your mask under your nose, dangling from your ear, etc. is NOT acceptable).
At all times:
• Ok, ok, you can take your face covering off to eat or drink. But please only do this while you are actively eating or drinking (carrying food or drink around does not count). We also ask that you stand still or sit to eat or drink, and that you limit eating and drinking to designated areas whenever possible.
• Guests, performers, panelists, and ASL interpreters may also remove their face coverings only while carrying out their duties, provided they maintain at least 6’ of space between themselves and anyone not in their party.
• Attendee musicians, please see the special note below for our masking policy while playing.
• Otherwise, face coverings must be always worn, even during activities that require high physical activity (e.g., rhythm games, LARPing).
• When in cosplay or fur suiting, face coverings are still required and must be visible to our staff. We may ask fur suiters to show us that they have a mask on underneath their fur suit head.
• Any face or head covering that does not meet the requirements above cannot be worn unless it is paired with one that does. We love you all, but we want you to be safe! We encourage you to incorporate face coverings into your designs/suits, and we ask that you plan any unmasked photo shoots outdoors.

In any Fur the ‘More event space:
• This includes the entire convention center area, including hallways.
• It also includes Fur the ‘More-managed areas in the hotel, as well as high-traffic areas in the hotel.
• Attendees are also expected to follow venue policies with respect to face coverings. At present, these do not exceed our own.

Attendees should provide their own face coverings for the duration of the event.

When in doubt, please listen to Fur the ‘More staff. It is always in our Code of Conduct that we expect all attendees to cooperate fully with our staff, hotel staff, and any local security or law enforcement personnel. If you feel compelled to give us sass about your mask, you should be aware that the consequences may include revocation of your badge without refund, removal from the premises, and/or an attendance ban from future MidAnthro events.

INCREASED SANITATION
Although it is each person’s individual responsibility to maintain their own hygiene, we will be increasing sanitation based on CDC, government, and industry best practices throughout the event space, especially in high-touch areas such as the consoles and arcade halls. We highly, highly recommend that attendees bring their own hand sanitizer, and as mentioned above attendees are expected to provide their own face coverings, but we will also have spare supplies available in limited quantities as needed.

Many event spaces will have modified hours and/or more time between scheduled events in order to allow spaces to be aired out and sanitized where appropriate. Some room layouts may be more spread out to ensure appropriate spacing which decreases available seating. (i.e., Main events will be limited to approximately 150 attendees).

Please be aware that specific event spaces may request or require additional sanitation precautions from you as a condition of your participation--for instance, you may be asked to clean off a machine after using it. We will also have sanitation supplies available if and where this is the case!

SOCIAL DISTANCING
We do not plan to reduce our attendance capacity at Fur the ‘More 2022 unless the venue itself or local, state, or federal mandates require a reduction. This means that true social distancing will not be possible in many areas, especially hallways and elevators. Please plan your attendance according to your own comfort level and your own personal health & safety needs. Some event spaces will have modified layouts to allow for greater distance between attendees where possible.

We will also have additional traffic flow controls, directional signage, and line management procedures in order to mitigate crowding and blockages. Please assist us in our efforts by being mindful of not congregating in hallways and by cooperating promptly with Fur the ‘More staff if you are asked to move along.

We highly, highly recommend that enable your exposure notifications for Virginia or that you download Virginia’s contact tracing app and enable it while on-site at the event (in addition to any other contact tracing services you may have. This will help the entire community if an exposure occurs at the festival. More information about the app is available on Virginia’s COVIDWISE website.

Fur the ‘More is implementing all of the above policies in order to ensure the protection of everyone attending the event. We will continuously monitor pandemic conditions in order to adapt and communicate with our community accordingly. If the venue itself, or if local, state, or federal mandates require a reduction in capacity, we will immediately cease badge sales and begin refunding badges as necessary, minus required fees from our payment processors. In the event of a drastic change in capacity due to the pandemic, this will help Fur the More to make it through to another year--we appreciate your understanding!

COVID REFUND POLICY
If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or are alerted of exposure to a confirmed case in the 10 days preceding the event, we ask that you stay home unless you receive a negative PCR test result before your arrival. We’re not able to police this, obviously, so we really need your help in keeping the community safe! If you receive a positive test result yourself in the 10 days preceding the event, we ask that you PLEASE stay home, both for your own safety and for the safety of others.

We typically do not offer refunds on badges, but we may be able to make exceptions in extenuating circumstances such as these. If you would like to request a refund for reasons related to COVID-19, please contact registration@furthemore.org no later than March 3rd, 2022 (the day before the event).

Additionally, we are adding two panel rooms to our free streaming channels this year to help those who cannot come.  We ask that if you watch them that you consider purchasing a supporting membership from our online convention store.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & BACKGROUND


WHERE TO GET A VACCINE IN:
• Maryland: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine
• DC: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc
• Virginia: https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/
• Pennsylvania: https://www.health.pa.gov/
• Or find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/

Adapted from the COVID policy page made by MAGfest Inc. under the creative commons license.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.