TAMPA, Fla — It started small – 550 people at a one-day event organized by two comic book collectors. Now, according to Tampa Bay Comic Convention’s website, the event has ballooned into a behemoth that draws a crowd up to 50,000 strong every year.
But, in the age of social distancing – that’s a problem.
The coronavirus pandemic threatened to turn the page on this year’s convention. Thankfully, a local superhero stepped up to save the day.
Tampa Bay Comic Convention announced Tuesday on Facebook the event will go on as scheduled – but with some important health and safety measures in place.
- Mandatory temperature screenings: Anyone with a fever won’t be allowed in.
- Increased disinfection: Cleaning crews will be laser-focused on high-traffic areas like elevators, escalators, handrails, benches and restrooms.
- Hand-sanitizing stations: They’ll be placed at every entrance and in high-traffic areas
- Reduced occupancy: The number of people in ballrooms and exhibit halls will be strictly limited, and every room will have one-way entrances and exits
So, who’s coming?
Paul Bettany will be there. He plays Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tom Felton is coming too. He was Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter.
And wrestling fans will be psyched to meet former WWE superstar Kevin Nash.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the celebrity iceberg!
But, not every local comic convention is going on as planned. MetroCon 2020 announced that it's canceling this year's event which was scheduled for July 23 - 26 at the Tampa Convention Center.
"At this time COVID-19 continues to be a public health risk of gross proportions, and it is irresponsible for us to encourage not only patrons, but merchants, performers, voice actors, volunteers, and staff to put their health and safety on the line to make this event happen," CEO Alex Craddock wrote in a statement on MetroCon's website.
"Ultimately, there is no decision in a situation like this that can please everyone, but I’m hopeful – confident, even – that even if this is devastating, or isn’t what you think we should do, you understand where our decision comes from and will continue to be a part of the METROCON family when we return in 2021."
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