This page was last updated on 12/28/21.

ShmooCon has always been committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our participants. During COVID times, that’s taken on a whole new meaning. We’re looking forward to hosting another event in 2022, but want to set the expectation that ShmooCon 2022 will be a bit different than ShmooCons of the past.

Based on current DC COVID restrictions, controls in place at the Hilton, and the current state of the disease in general, we’ve tentatively put together the following policies. These policies are subject to change and announcements will be made here should changes occur as 2022 approaches.

SHMOOCON 2022 COVID POLICIES

  • Masks – Masks must be worn by everyone in attendance at ShmooCon while in ShmooCon space. In addition, DC has reinstated their indoor mask mandate effective Dec 21, 2021 through Jan 31, 2022. Masks should be well-fitting and cover the nose and mouth. We highly recommend wearing N95 or KN95 masks if you are able.
  • Hand Washing/Sanitizing – We encourage people to wash their hands frequently, but especially before eating. Hand sanitizing stations will also be available throughout the conference space.
  • Social Distancing – Seats within the main stage areas will be set up in a fashion to provide for some distancing (likely groups of 2 and 4, with space between groups). We also plan to accept a lower number of sponsors this year to allow for more spacing between and around sponsor tables. Other layout decisions will be made keeping this consideration in mind. On the con floor (and frankly, everywhere else too) we ask that you try to avoid congregating in large groups, that you wear your mask properly, and that you do your best to respect those around you.
  • Vaccine Status – All persons in attendance must be vaccinated. We intended to use a third party organization to do the verification but that fell through so we will be doing it ourselves. You must go through vaccine validation and get a wristband prior to obtaining your badge at con reg. More information will be posted soon, but know that we will not be collecting any personal information as part of this process.

Again, these policies are subject to change as the current situation evolves. Given how the last 18 months have gone, we are moving forward knowing the need to both re-evaluate as conditions change and to be flexible in our planning.

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

  • Consider testing within 72 hours of arriving at the con.  While we are not requiring attendees to test before registering, many of us consider it due diligence before attending any large event these days.  
  • Personal preparation – confirm you have packed several masks, have proof of vaccination handy (not just for us, many places in DC will start requiring this proof on Jan. 15), etc.
  • Know your own limits and risk thresholds.

AT THE CON

  • Wear your mask appropriately at all times (covering nose and mouth).
  • Do a self health assessment every day – if you feel sick/have a fever, please do not attend.
  • Food and Drink:
    • In general, masks may be removed when actively eating or drinking but this should only be done when seated or stationary.  Please avoid moving around the conference while snacking on your lunch.  In fact, we’d strongly prefer if most eating takes place off the conference floor to help us mitigate this risk.
    • Briefly removing your mask for a quick drink is fine in most con areas. However a beverage is not an acceptable reason to have your mask off continuously, nor is continually taking sips of liquid over a prolonged period of time.
    • No eating or drinking in the main presentation room (One Track Mind).
  • Hallway Con – Avoid congregating in large groups (yeah, it’s going to be challenge – just do the best you can), help us keep doorways, the bottom of the stairs, escalators, etc clear.
  • Again, respect those around you and do your part to help keep ShmooCon as safe as possible.

UPGRADES AT THE HILTON

The hotel suspended operations from April 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. During this time, several enhancements were made throughout the property.

  • Air handling
    • New Air Filters were put in all spaces, meeting rooms, public areas and guests rooms – these filters were upgraded (MERV 13) to increase the size of filtrated particles by 50%.
    • Fresh Air Intake – previously, air pushed into all spaces was a mix of fresh air and recycled air, that had been scrubbed.  The Washington Hilton is now 100% outside fresh air.
    • In the largest spaces, International Ballroom and Columbia Ballroom, there are at least Three Airflow Supplies, all with 100% Outside Air, with an exchange rate of 65,500 cfm.

Be assured we will work with the Hilton staff to make the space as safe and healthy as possible. They’ve been running events for a while now since DC re-opened in June of 2021. We’ll leverage their experience over the last few months to figure out what has worked and not worked and structure the physical space and the flow of people in the best way possible for our purposes.  

For current DC COVID Guidelines, we found this travel status page to be a helpful summary of the information provided at coronavirus.dc.gov.

CHANGES AT THE CON

As part of our efforts to keep ShmooCon 2022 as safe and healthy a space as possible, we’ve made a few changes to what has been the traditional ShmooCon program.

Probably the biggest change is our decision to go down to a single track for this year. This allows us to combine parts of the ballroom, create a bigger space for the audience, eliminate some of the choke points going down that hallway, and space out the seating to be more friendly with the social distancing concept.

We also decided not to run our Labs program this year. Having the same group of people huddled in a (much smaller) room for two days didn’t seem in line with the way are trying to approach things this time.

Fewer sponsors means fewer/no tables down the back hallway which should help with the flow of traffic in that space. We also plan to open up sections of the airways between the other rooms to help with airflow as well as allow folks to move around more freely.

Lastly, no untz untz on Saturday night. We’ve got something else planned instead.