Origins Game Fair Still On for June 2020

by W. Eric Martin

The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has announced that as of March 18, 2020, Origins Game Fair 2020 will still take place on June 17-21 as originally planned. Here’s the complete text of the announcement:

GAMA is very concerned about having a safe and fun environment for our attendees, game organizers, volunteers, and exhibitors and are closely monitoring the recommendations from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health. This crisis is rapidly evolving and we want to give people as much notice as we are able of any changes. As such, we will make a go/no-go determination on the convention by May 1st. If the situation changes before that date, we will issue an update but as of this moment, we are proceeding with Origins 2020 as scheduled.

Given the current state of things, why would a convention still be moving ahead as planned? Coincidentally, Avonelle Wing from Double Exposure, Inc., which runs multiple events in New Jersey, posted the following on Twitter on March 18, 2020, the same day as GAMA’s announcement:







Wing’s statement is similar to a statement from the board of directors for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) on March 11, 2020, which notes:

What is SFWA doing about the Nebula conference in response to COVID-19?

At the moment, SFWA is planning to hold the conference with adjustments to reduce the risks of spreading the virus. The SFWA Board and the Nebula Conference events team are talking about this evolving situation daily including the possibility that things may shift enough that we need to cancel the in-person event. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments.

The Nebulas are 80 days away and every day brings us a better understanding of what’s happening with COVID-19.

Our challenge is that the hotel will not allow us to cancel the event without paying penalties unless it is “illegal or impossible” to host it. Similarly, they will not offer us any refunds. This limits our choices.

To accompany these statements, I’ll present this March 3, 2020 article from Bloomberg that explains why insurers generally won’t cover losses from cancelled events and disrupted travel. An excerpt:

The world’s largest insurers have learned lessons from previous health crises, including the 2003 SARS outbreak. Over the years, they’ve tightened up their policies, inserting communicable-disease exclusions to prevent potential losses. That means consumers and companies will bear the brunt of the cost for disruptions related to the virus — which has infected 90,000 people and left more than 3,000 people dead.

“While there is a significant risk of disruption, coronavirus-related claims will be low,” analysts at Moody’s Investors Service wrote in a note on Monday. “Business interruption claims will be limited as these policies commonly exclude outbreaks of infectious disease, and pay out only if physical damage occurs.”

Claims from the SARS outbreak ended up spurring some property-casualty insurers to revisit policy language, particularly with “loss of attraction” clauses, according to Gigi Norris, co-leader of Aon Plc’s infectious disease task force.

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