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Gen Con 2021 makes face masks mandatory for all in updated COVID-19 guidelines

Drops option for vaccinated visitors to attend without mask.

Gen Con 2021 will now require all visitors to wear a face mask during the US board game convention next month, after revising its COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Gen Con’s organisers previously announced that the September 16th to 19th show would only enforce face masks for visitors without proof of vaccination or medical exemption. As a result, those who displayed proof of vaccination would have been able to freely browse the show floor without a face covering.

The latest update from Gen Con president David Hoppe confirmed that the option for vaccinated visitors to attend Gen Con Indy’s physical show had been dropped, with all visitors now required to wear a mask while inside the Indiana Convention Center, as well as in crowded spaces outdoors.

Hoppe also responded to the possibility of Gen Con 2021 requiring visitors to prove vaccination for entry, saying: “While we’re not announcing such a policy here yet, we are working with local health officials and may do so at any time prior to the convention.”

Hoppe acknowledged that other events - such as Germany’s Essen Spiel, taking place in October - will require mandatory vaccination for entry alongside enforced mask wearing, indicating that Gen Con’s current decision not to enforce the entry requirement was potentially down to legal hurdles in its home state of Indiana.

“While we fully support vaccination requirements, we must do so with the backing of our legal and health safety partners in order to move forward,” Hoppe wrote.

“To be clear: as we continue to speak with our legal and health partners we may make vaccinations mandatory for attendance.”

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As well as the newly mandatory mask wearing, Gen Con has confirmed that it will limit the physical show’s capacity to 60% of “normal size”. The last in-person Gen Con event in 2019 drew a record 70,000 people, according to organisers.

The returning convention - which will run alongside digital event Gen Con Online and local demos in partnered stores as part of a new Pop-up Gen Con initiative - will also feature additional space around tables for social distancing, as well as various cleaning and sanitisation measures, Hoppe reiterated.

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Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.