As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and California declares state of emergency for monkey poxTwitchCon San Diego released its health measures policyindicating that there are no testing, vaccination or mask requirements.
“In accordance with current local guidelines, there are no COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements at TwitchCon San Diego. While masks are encouraged, they are currently not required to attend TwitchCon,” read the statement on the TwitchCon website.
TwitchCon Amsterdam, which took place last month, had a similar policy. Twitch partner Nazih Fares told The edge he left after four hours, concerned for his health, despite being fully vaccinated.
“It was like the whole pandemic never happened,” Fares said. “I thought Twitch partners would lead by example, the partner lounge was cramped, the hygiene level was subpar and don’t get me started on the ‘bar’.”
When word got out that the same policy would be implemented in San Diego, many streamers expressed their outrage and hesitationand stated that they no longer felt safe attending the massive streaming convention.
“I was planning to attend and booked a hotel room,” said Gary Whitta, screenwriter and Twitch partner. The edge. “With the news that TwitchCon does not require vaccination or masks, I currently intend to stay home unless they revise their policies.”
While it’s true that masking and vaccination requirements are being relaxed across the country in line with guidelines from public health officials, California seems in the middle of a COVID peak thanks to the variants and sub-variants of the virus. And even if mask mandates are no longer in effect for some parts of California, it’s not beyond Twitch’s power to enforce its own policies.
San Diego Comic-Con, which took place July 21-24 at the same convention center that TwitchCon will use, required a vaccination certificate or negative test and masks. Although that didn’t keep people from getting infected, including Game of Thrones writer George RR Martin — according to a report on the scam of polygonsome attendees felt more comfortable with the additional guidelines.
Twitch’s adherence to the minimum of standards is not only a security issue, but also an accessibility issue. “There are over 56 million potential disabled players and countless immunocompromised people who just want to enjoy these celebrations of gaming,” said Steven Spohn, senior director of development for AbleGamerstold The edge.
Spohn noted that even with mask and vaccination requirements, no meeting on this scale could be 100 percent safe.
“Everyone knows that attending these kinds of conventions is a risk because the pandemic is not over yet, but we can reduce the chances of exposure and risks to people’s health with a few simple measures,” he said. “People with disabilities should be involved in measures to protect people.”
The edge contacted Twitch for comment, but has not yet received a response. TwitchCon San Diego takes place October 7-9.