How to Prepare for Fandom Conventions After Quarantine

Staying home has been oddly, easy for the last month.

I’d like to thank my hermiting abilities and amazing tolerance for not seeing the outside world for long periods of time. Its as if a switch went off in the back of my head and now I’m planning virtual meetups, plotting bulk meal trips to the store, and rearranging my living room for crafts/re-adjusting to finding work from home, again.

I am trying my hardest not to live in sweatpants and gamer shirts.

Stay calm and keep a routine.

With all this new found time on my hands, I figured it was time for more useful tips about attending Fandom Conventions post-“Shelter-in-Place”.

Here are my thoughts while I finish my Reaper Letterman jacket.

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How health conscious should you be when in a crowd.

As you may have heard by now, conventions are already choosing to cancel for 2020 or pushing to later dates. Hoping that their host city won’t shut them down like in the case of SXSW and the City of Austin. Some are turning to the virtual version of their cons like Gary Con XII and using the hashtag ” Virtual Artist Alley” to help Artisans whose livelihood is now disrupted.

To be frank, we’re not out of the woods yet. So, keep taking care and taking precautions.

I am not a doctor, but what I am is overly cautious. Thank you retail jobs of the past.

Eventually, we will be returning to a new, normalish world of rubbing elbows with strangers. With a new hyper awareness of germs for a good while.

So, let’s revisit the “ 6 – 2 – 1 ” rule.

6 hours of sleep each day of con.

Eat 2 hearty meals each day of con.

And take at least 1 shower each day of con.

You should think about showering at least twice a day after walking the convention floor.

Any time you make it back to your hotel room, check those high friction areas. Splash some water on your face and touch up that deodorant. By taking these steps, you can lessen the odds of catching the dreaded “Con Crud” which is often the source of post-convention sickness.

That and people still attending with a head cold.

Plus a quick shower, a power nap and a good snack is a nice break before jumping back into the fray.

Continue to wash your hands.

While it may be a nice thought that the hotel staff or even volunteer convention staff will wipe down chairs, door knobs, microphones and table tops after use. You may still come in contact with a surface that was missed during these new cleaning efforts.

So, do yourself a favor and pick up the travel size versions of your favorite anti-bacterials.

Soap and water are still the strongest line of defense. You should already be an expert in hand washing since the Q days. You should be humming the entire opening song to Game of Thrones or Doctor Who to get through it. I believe in you!

Worried about dry hands? Use a light layer of vaseline (better yet, any of the vaseline lotion line) or deep moisturizing lotions after. Hit those cuticles with some shea body butter.

Do continue to carry some form of anti-bacterial.

Wipes, squeezy bottles, and disposable handkerchiefs. Their still useful for cleaning direct surfaces of objects touched often by others. I.E. water faucet handles, door knobs, elevator buttons, etc.

Before you touch it, protect yourself from it.

DO NOT go into a room or lobby or any public area spraying any form of cleaning product into the faces of others.

Its harrassment; it’s dangerous as that cleaning product becomes carcinogenic when in direct contact with eyes, nose, and mouth. And it is a fast way to be blacklisted from an event due to violent behavior.

Don’t think people won’t attempt to harm you for trying to help in this way. It will not end well, I assure you.

Wash your clothing/ keep dirty clothing in a separate bag in your suitcase.

While this is sort of a no-brainer, you’d be surprised to know not everyone has multiple outfits for a convention weekend.

Bacteria has a tendency to cling to fabric long after initial contact. As we learn more about this virus, it’s best to continue changing clothes before sitting down on a bed or couch. Bring a reusable bag to set worn clothing in after; wrap, tie and tuck away into the suitcase’s separate compartment.

For best practices when doing laundry during this pandemic, The New York Times does a great job covering this.

If your unable to bring fresh clothing options, pick up a detergent pod packet and clothesline for the weekend. Ask your roommates if they’re okay with handwashing garments in the hotel sink or tub. Because no one should be surprised by wet undergarments in the shower.

Cover your mouth if you must cough/sneeze.

Whether your sick or not, people will be jumpy for while around coughing.

Especially, sneezing.

Don’t have a tissue? Turn away and cough directly at the floor.

Take your allergy medication.

Purchase a pack of facial tissues, purchase a cloth mask (but make it functional, fashion) or buy disposable face mask to wear out.

If you are absolutely, dead set on making your own fabric face mask, please use the pattern for filter pockets. You will want to find HEPA grade air filters to cut your own little inserts. The pattern should cover from the middle bridge of your nose to midway beneath the chin and just past your cheeks. Try searching YouTube for “fabric face mask with filter pocket”, by now there a dozen experts.

My favorite so far has been Sew Can She’s tutorial.

Sure, you might feel silly for even wearing a mask at first. Just like you, there are many people already living with immunocompromised systems that still share the same air. So let’s normalize the wearing of face masks in fun colors and prints.

It’s not going away anytime soon.

Listen to your body.

If you feel a little off, take a moment to sit and listen to how your body is feeling.

Then go over these questions with yourself.

Did you eat enough this morning?

Are you thirsty?

How long did you sleep?

Are you warm to the touch?

Any shortness of breath?

Stop what you are doing and take your time to resolve the problem. Move away from busy areas, find a quiet space to catch your breath. Even if it’s just taking a few minutes to sit with some water. Your health is important. Don’t hurt yourself trying to do too much, too fast.

Limit your group activity at peak crowd hours.

The whole, social distancing thing in a convention environment might not work in this case.

My suggestion would be to stretch out your group activities throughout the day.

Choose a handful of events that are popular for your chosen con and narrow it down to a few must goes. Plan a meal to go out to with a small group of friends in between these events. Pace yourself in going into these crowded areas. Take the time to protect yourself and others by remembering to wash your hands.

In the end, we should continue these new habits throughout the day for the foreseeable future.

While it’s wonderful to see your friends and family having fun. Think about how your actions could impact their health in the present and in the future too. I’m sure we all would like to see each other again.

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