To our AquatiFur friends and family,
Few things have the power to polarize a community like COVID. Even after 3 years, our community is very passionate about how to best handle COVID protocols in the convention spaces. Our team’s internal deliberations have taken into consideration the local, state, federal, and international situation at this time, and we have reached a consensus, following expert guidance and current trends/information.
The TL/DR version is: AquatiFur 2023 will not require either vaccinations or masks for attendance.
The Longer version is: We will be following the current policies and recommendations as laid out by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, the State of Wisconsin, Adams County and the City of Wisconsin Dells, as well as the policies of the Chula Vista with regards to our COVID-19 protocols for AquatiFur 2023.
To that end, the following policies will be in effect for the convention:
• Vaccination shots(s) are highly recommended, but not required.
• Booster shot(s) are highly recommended when applicable, but not required.
• Masks are highly recommended, but are not required.
Now that the World Health Organization and the federal government have chosen to both end their respective health emergency declarations (WHO on May 5, and the federal government on May 11), the availability and access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing is changing. Both the WHO and the CDC still strongly recommend that people stay up to date with the COVID-19 vaccine, but guidance has changed significantly for general population vaccination and especially towards the availability of further boosters. The federal government and most states are also winding down (or have already curtailed) free COVID-19 testing availability.
Per Wisconsin State Statute 106.52, as a nonprofit organization, we are not permitted to require our community to bear a financial burden to attend our event as a public place of accommodation per the statute. As the federal government is requiring payment for the vaccines as well as a cost for masks and supplies, requiring these without a federal mandate, which would supersede state law, would cause financial burden on our attendees, against the state statute.
We have chosen to follow CDC and other official guidance in effect at this time, which strongly recommends but does not require masking. Dealers are welcome to have mask-required policies for service at their individual tables if they wish (convention-produced signage will be provided indicating this requirement). Convention staff will not interfere with their decisions and require attendees to abide by these requests. We wish to be perfectly clear– there will be ZERO TOLERANCE for any mask or vaccination harassment at con within convention spaces. Violations will be dealt with under the AEIOU Code of Conduct.
At this time, we do not anticipate any changes to these policies before the convention, unless required by future government orders. If updates become necessary, we will be sure to communicate this to everyone as quickly as possible.
If you need clarification about any of these policies, please email: [email protected]
We thank you for your patience and understanding, and we can’t wait to see you all for an amazing OktobFurFest!
– AEIOU Board of Directors