This page was last updated on 9/6/2022.

ShmooCon has always been committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our participants. Due to the pandemic, that’s taken on a whole new meaning and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to keep this committment.

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 the 2023 event approaches.

SHMOOCON 2023 COVID POLICIES

  • Masks – Masks must be worn by everyone in attendance at ShmooCon while in ShmooCon space.
    1. Masks should be well-fitting, covering the nose and mouth, and be secure under the chin.
    2. Please no neck gaiters, open-chin, bandanas, or face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind.
    3. We highly recommend wearing N95 or KN95 masks if you are able. Otherwise, cloth/surgical type masks are ok but should be made with at least 2 layers of appropriate material.
    4. A limited number of masks will be available at reg for anyone who might need one.
  • Vaccine Status – As of now, ShmooCon 2023 will not have a vaccine requirement. However we strongly encourage all those who can to be up-to-date with their COVID vaccines, not only for your own protection, but for the overall safety of our attendees and for the benefit of our greater community. See the CDC’s current vaccine recommendations here.
  • 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.

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, etc.
  • Educate yourself on any travel restrictions/requirements that may be in place for your particular itinerary. For current DC COVID Guidelines, we found this travel status page to be a helpful summary of the information provided at coronavirus.dc.gov.
  • Know your own limits and risk thresholds.

AT THE CON

  • Wear your mask appropriately (covering nose and mouth) at all times while on the con floor.
  • 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, holding 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 rooms.
  • 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.
  • Outside of Con Space – We strongly suggest you continue to mask if gathering in large groups. Otherwise, do your best to be safe in the manner that’s most comfortable for you.

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.

Rest 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 continue to leverage their experience 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.