PAX East staff member dies from COVID-19 four weeks before Anime Boston 2022

PAX East Returns in April with Full Vaccination Requirements and Mandatory  Masking - IGN

Anime Boston 2022 - Saturday | Meetup

 

Gamespot shared the tragic news Tuesday afternoon.

PAX East took place in the Boston Convention Center in Boston last weekend. Although the event required all attendees and staff to be vaccinated, to that point Massachusetts and Boston had recently ended their mask mandates. Both the Boston Convention Center where PAX East is held and the Hynes Convention Center where Anime Boston is held are state property managed by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA). This is one of the situations where one death is too many. That much goes without saying to say the least.

I decided to pass on going to Anime Boston this year and likely next year in part due to these concerns. It’s easy to forget in general, conventions are a breeding ground for viral outbreaks because you have hundreds and thousands of people in enclosed spaces. I last attended AB2018 on that note. The larger reason I am not attending Anime Boston is simply because I don’t have the money right now and need to prioritize things.

That aside, I am sure the folks who manage Anime Boston will work with Hynes staff as well as the Sheraton Hotel which also hosts some events to mitigate the risks of the convention becoming another super spreader event as much as possible. Like PAX East did last month, Anime Boston does have a vaccine mandate for all attendees and staff and this was announced in October. According to what I’ve been reading on Anime Boston’s official forums, they decided to go with a mask mandate despite relaxed posturing at the local, state and federal levels on masking guidelines.

The only time you can be maskless is when you’re eating/drinking. You need to keep it on even if you’re a solo panelist like I typically was because then convention staff would have an increased risk of getting infected while cleaning the stage and microphones after you finish. Since you’re using a microphone, your voice will carry just fine with a mask on. All you have to do is slow down and properly endunciate to be heard and understood.

In closing, Anime Boston is taking the situation VERY seriously and more so after they were forced to cancel in 2020 and 2021. For those who don’t know, 100% of all Anime Boston staff and board members are not paid for what they do. Anime Boston’s parent company the New England Anime Society (NEAS) is a 501.3(c) Nonprofit. Everyone who works behind the scenes is doing it because they believe in what they’re doing first and they want the convention to be a success second. Not just for attendees but also for the staff who will be on the ground as well.

I will be watching things from a distance this year and possibly next year but I’m sure Anime Boston’s attendance this year will much lower than attendees are used to. Since 2012, Anime Boston’s attendance has exceeded 20k. Its peak was in 2017 when the attendance reached 27k. I’m sure Anime Boston staff are expecting attendance to be closer to its early years when it peaked around 10k. I would be very surprised if attendance exceeds 10k nevermind 15k this year and likely next year.

COVID-19 aside, it’s also true the entrance fee has also been increasing in recent years. When I first started going back in 2010, a weekend pass was $50. This year, it’s $95 if you preregister and $105 at the door. I did consider just getting a Sunday pass–and I am considering that for next year–but right now I can’t justify spending the $50 or $60 to be there for basically 5 and a half hours (closing Ceremonies starts at 3PM and lasts an hour). Not this year at least.

 

 

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