Dragon Con Updates

Updated August 17, 2021

From the start, we have committed to hosting a convention that would help protect our fans from the spread of COVID while staying true to the traditions that make Dragon Con fun and memorable.  As the number of COVID related cases continues to climb, it becomes clear that we need to update our health and safety protocols in order to keep that commitment.  With the Delta variant causing more COVID-19 cases worldwide, including “breakthrough” infections of vaccinated individuals, we must make changes to our COVID protocols including requiring all attendees who attend the live convention to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of arrival before entering the convention.

Additionally, we have added many FAQs below addressing questions we have received from fans including details around the mask mandate and anticipated questions with today’s announcement.  We encourage you take the time to review each of these to help you prepare for Dragon Con 2021.

Thank you again for your patience and support.

Updated August 1, 2021

We want to thank everyone for your patience as we worked through these details and in doing so built an amazing show to bring to our beloved fans/Dragon Con family.  These last few months have seen many changes as it relates to the pandemic and recommendations from experts around the world, many even in the last week.  In response, we’ve adopted a number of health and safety protocols designed to help reduce the spread of COVID while making the convention fun and memorable for all returning fans.  We will continue to evaluate our policies and procedures and follow the guidance of public health officials in order to keep the convention as safe as possible for those who choose to attend in person.

For those who want to stay home, we have Dragon Con Goes Virtual, featuring overlapping coverage of the live convention and exclusive programming just for the platform from our amazing fan tracks. For those who missed it, last year’s version of Dragon Con Goes Virtual was unbelievable, with multiple channels of programming across three different platforms. Like the live convention, this year’s virtual convention will be smaller but packed with the same goodness including streaming, a virtual marketplace with artists and vendors, and so many opportunities to connect and interact on our social platforms it will make your head spin.

Because our fans are amazing, we often get asked what you can do to help the convention.  Outside of lending your support and love during this difficult time, which we seriously can’t thank you enough for, we encourage anyone who can be vaccinated, to take the step to protect yourself and your community.  Additionally, we ask that you take responsibility to maintain your health by following CDC guidelines, as we will be.

The very best part of Dragon Con is the community. We know that you have each other’s backs, that you care for your fellow fan, and that you will follow the rules because it’s the right thing to do. We trust you to make good decisions and look forward to welcoming you home.

We’ve committed to answering questions about how Dragon Con will look different this year.  Below is a rather lengthy list of changes that we have put in place to deliver on a quality Dragon Con experience while taking important steps to keep our members and attendees safe.


Face masks and reduced attendance

  • Appropriate face masks will be required at all times inside convention venues regardless of vaccination status, in keeping with updated CDC guidelines and City of Atlanta requirements.
  • In 2021, Dragon Con will have reduced capacity from prior years. We have worked closely with our hotels and AmericasMart to determine how many people are permitted in the buildings each day and at a given time and taken further steps to reduce capacity to allow for personal spacing.
  • There will be no Saturday-only membership sales before or during the convention. One-day badges will only be available for Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday.
  • Related to that, there will be no onsite membership sales to reduce congestion, increase social distance, and improve traffic at badge pickup in the Sheraton. If memberships are available for purchase, they will only be available online through Growtix.


Room Capacity, Including Walk of Fame

  • All panel rooms and other programming venues will have a reduced 2/3rds maximum capacity at all times.
  • We will have approximately 50% fewer guests signing to provide for better spacing, personal distancing, traffic flow, and line management.  There will be a one-way flow enforced throughout the room and limited capacity at all times. Additional safety precautions may be enforced, including temperature checks.


Traffic Flow, Congestion, and Personal Distancing

  • Badge checks will be expanded across the show to support the capped attendance and spacing.  If you don’t have a membership for Dragon Con, we ask that you participate in some of our awesome virtual elements highlighted below, as the hotels will be closed to badge-holding members only.
  • Lines for events and panel programming will be closed once we reach the 2/3rds reduced room capacity to reduce the number of people congregating in an area and to improve traffic flow. As always, ballrooms will be cleared between panels and the existing line policy, #18 remains in effect and will be strictly enforced.
  • Other specific changes to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion include.
    • The Concourse Stages will have longer breaks between each performance, rotating between both locations with fewer bands and performances overall.
    • Fan tables will not be openly available for 2021 to reduce lobby congestion and improve traffic flow.
    • The Chosen Costume Contest, hosted annually at Dragon Con Night at the Georgia Aquarium, will take a hiatus to prevent crowding.
    • Our traditional arcade partner, Joystick Game Bar will move from AmericasMart to a unique pop-up experience located at 161 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303, with activities going on from 10a – 4a daily. Dragon Con members get in free.


Venue cleaning

  • Our venues have adopted enhanced cleaning protocols and are committed to delivering above and beyond the sanitation standards established. If you would like details, we encourage you to check with each property individually.
  • All panel rooms and programming spaces will be closed twice a day for deep cleaning – once during the day and once overnight. These closures will happen on a rolling basis, with specific times indicated in the app, so there will ALWAYS be lots of programming options to choose from.
  • Gaming in AmericasMart Building 1 will have limited hours to meet our cleaning commitments and other enhanced safety measures. The building will be closed from 2 am – 8 am daily.  Open gaming, available in the Savannah Ballroom of the Westin, will be available 24 hours a day, with the exception of closing daily for cleaning.


Other changes

  • Because children under 12 years old are not recommended for the COVID vaccine, the Kids Track will not host the Kids’ Character Encounter or Family-Friendly Dance.
  • We have received our parade permit and at this time will host a modified and scaled back parade. A Dragon Con membership is required to view the parade live and in person for 2021. All others can watch the parade on CW69, our broadcast partner, or on our DCTV YouTube,
    and other social media platforms.
  • We are excited to again partner with Epic Photo Ops, who has adjusted their policies with the safety and wellbeing of our guests and fans in mind, including limiting the number of individuals in a photo op. For a detailed listing of additional protocols, visit their website.

What do I need to provide to show proof of vaccination?

For our fans 18 years and older, proof of vaccination can be shown either on a smartphone or through a physical copy of the vaccination card, along with an appropriate ID matching the name on the documentation. This will need to be shown when picking up your Dragon Con 2021 badge.

What do I need to provide to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test?

If you are not vaccinated, if you are a minor under the age of 12, or if you choose not to show proof of vaccination, you will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours, in order to pick up your Dragon Con badge, or complimentary kids wristband if under 7. Any adult who purchased their children’s memberships in the same transaction as their own will be authorized to show a negative covid test on their child’s behalf and pick up their badge.

Can I use a self-test (sometimes referred to as home test)?

In line with CDC recommendations, you can use a self-test (sometimes referred to as home test) that meets the following criteria:

  • The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Some FDA-authorized self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription.
  • The telehealth provider must confirm the person’s identity, observe the specimen collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report that includes:
    • Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test)
    • Entity issuing the result (e.g. laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
    • Specimen collection date. A negative test result must show the specimen was collected within the 3 days before the badge pick up. A positive test result for documentation of recovery from COVID-19 must show the specimen was collected within the 3 months before the badge pick up.
    • Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
    • Test Result

I will receive my last shot days before coming to Dragon Con. Do I just need proof of vaccination?

First off – yay for taking this important step to protect your health by getting vaccinated.  We are so happy for you.  Unfortunately, in order to show only proof of vaccination, we are going by the CDC guidelines that full vaccination is only achieved 2 weeks after your final shot.  With this, you would need to have a negative COVID test to receive your Dragon Con badge.

How will the mask mandate be enforced?

Ultimately, we expect our folks to do the right thing and wear their mask.  Hotel employees and our Dragon Con volunteers will be working together to ensure that the mandate is followed.

I am not able to wear a mask due to a medical condition. Does that mean I cannot attend Dragon Con because of the mask policy?

We will allow an exemption to the mask mandate for those who have been informed by a licensed healthcare provider that wearing a facial covering or mask will cause or aggravate a health condition for the individual once documentation is provided to our Disability Services department. Documentation (including the name of the person requesting the exemption) needs to be submitted to our Disability Services department located on the first floor of the Sheraton Atlanta.  Please contact Disability Services with specific questions on the mask exemption.

I am bringing my child with me to Dragon Con. Is he/she required to wear a mask?

Children over the age of two are expected to wear a mask. Any child unable to wear the mask due to a medical condition will need documentation provided to Disability Services.

What types of masks are permitted?

Masks should adhere to the recommendations of the CDC to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets and reduce the risk of COVID 19.

Am I able to walk around with snacks/drink and not wear a mask?

While we don’t expect you to wear a mask and drink/eat at the same time, we do expect that you be considerate of your fellow fans and wear the mask when not actively eating or drinking.  There will be designated areas that are cleaned more frequently than others for eating and drinking to help keep everyone safe.

Do selfies with guests and Epic Photo Ops require masks?

We will leave this up to the guests’ discretion depending on their comfort level.  Fans would be allowed to remove their mask for seconds during the photo op of either type if the guest grants permission.  Once the photo is completed, the mask will be expected to be put back in place.

Will masks be available at the event?

Fans should plan to bring their own masks.  If there is anything we know, it’s that Dragon Con fans like to dress for the occasion and we really look forward to seeing our fan’s creativity on display!  If somebody forgets a mask, however, disposable masks will be available throughout the event at the Information Services desks and Safety offices, as well as in all programming spaces throughout the event.

Do minors still need to be present to pick up badges or can parents do that without them?

Any adult who purchased their children’s memberships in the same transaction as their own will be authorized to pick up their child’s badges at the same time without the child being present as long as they have proof of negative COVID test within 72 hours or vaccination for all badges being picked up.

What happens if I lose my badge at the show? Previously, I could purchase another one in registration.

If the show is sold out, we will not be able to sell an additional membership in the event of a lost badge.  We encourage our members to do all possible to hold onto their badge.  We have placed a lot of focus on streamlining our process for collecting lost badges at the show so we can more quickly locate and get the badge back to the member who may have lost it.

If you have lost your badge, please report to the Solutions Desk in Registration, located on the bottom floor of the Sheraton.

Will the indoor tunnels between hotels be open still?

Yes, they will be open throughout the show.  We encourage anyone able to utilize the outdoors to help keep crowding down to allow for accessibility and spacing.

If the Walk of Fame is reduced by 50%, are all guests rotating through? Will they have alternate signing events?

The number of tables on the Walk of Fame have been reduced to accommodate the lower number of guests and provide more space for lines and flow of traffic.  Guests are able to set their own signing hours within the open hours (Friday 1p – 7p, Saturday/Sunday 10a – 7p, Monday 10a – 5p), but there is no change to the business hours of the Walk of Fame.

Is Vendor Hall capacity being reduced?

Yes.  The Vendor Hall will adhere to the ⅔ capacity.  Additionally, the Vendor Halls and Comic and Pop Artist Alley have undergone a reduction in booths to allow for better spacing and flow.

Will restaurants be open?

We have worked with our hotel partners to ensure all dining outlets are open and ready for our Dragon Con Family.  The only exception at this time is the Polaris at the Hyatt Regency.  The additional outlets you have grown to know and love including pop ups throughout our convention space and the Sheraton food trucks will also be open and available to attendees.  The Peachtree Center food court and many of the SunTrust Plaza restaurants will be open and ready to welcome us.  It will not be the same as in previous years, but you will have options.  We do ask that you be kind and patient with the venues, as they are working very hard to increase staffing for the weekend and are as excited as we are to be together again.

Will there be hand sanitizer available?

Absolutely.  We are working with our venue partners to ensure that there are additional hand sanitizers readily available throughout the facilities.  In addition, we are providing hand sanitizer, and additional cleaning supplies, to all areas of the show as an extra precaution.

What is the attendance cap?

At this point, our anticipated attendance is approximately a 50% reduction from our 2019 numbers.  We continue to make changes to lower the attendance cap with the change in information related to COVID and the increasing numbers and believe that promising a number is not a viable option at this time in order to remain flexible and able to adjust to changes with the state of the pandemic.

To verify, you can purchase a Growtix Membership online while at the event and just go to badge pickup?

Factually, yes. Most likely, no.  Having knowledge of the cap, we anticipate selling out before the convention.  We are attempting to be as transparent as possible with providing notifications on the percent of sell out, however, we reserve the right to adjust and stop selling memberships at any time based on what we believe is in the best interest of the convention.

Will there be any changes to policy regarding badge pickup for others to decrease the numbers in badge pickup?

No. Our current policy allows for fans to pick up badges for others as long as they have their QR code, a copy of a valid form of identification, proof of vaccination or negative test result, and a letter giving permission for the person doing pick up.  We believe that the policy, along with the reduced attendance and elimination of onsite purchases, provide flexibility and lowers the numbers to effectively and safely process registration.

How will the members only (no outside spectators) parade be enforced?

Some things need not be shared.  We have worked with the city of Atlanta and the APD on the plan to safely hold a parade in these times, including the need and plan to not allow spectators outside of Dragon Con members.  The city and police have had experience with events operating in a similar manner.  While we are sad to not be able to allow the public to join us to watch the parade, we will provide several ways for them to enjoy it streaming to dragoncon.tv, our social media platforms,  and on the CW.

Are refunds and/or rollovers to the 2022 event being offered?

No, unfortunately not.  As an exception to our longstanding no refund policy, we allowed the opportunity for folks with a 2020 membership to either refund or rollover to 2021.  As a part of the rollover to 2021, came a thank you gift with a 2020 membership badge, face mask, and lanyard and the largest show of virtual programming of any convention around made public to everyone free of charge.  We are unfortunately not able to extend additional flexibility to memberships at this time.  We will, however, be providing free streaming memberships to anyone with a current membership who is unable to attend the in-person event.  To take advantage of this, simply email the office.  Please note, the office will be closed for requests from August 30th to September 9th.  Requests will again be processed from September 10th – September 17th.

We will add that everything, especially during this COVID-19 era, is rapidly evolving. We are actively monitoring the situation and working with public health experts to ensure we provide the same level of safety for Dragon Con fans that we always have. Should we need to make any policy changes, you all will be the first to know.

If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to private message us or reach out to the office directly.

I live outside of the US and travel is not yet allowed. Is there anything I can do about my membership?

International fans with governmental travel restrictions are encouraged to contact the office directly.

I’m not sure I am entirely comfortable with attending an in-person event yet but loved Dragon Con Goes Virtual last year. What can I do to partake in the virtual offerings and what will it look like?

This year we will be offering a low price streaming membership of $10 to access all virtual content.  This will provide access to the live streams which will have a mix of content from the in-person event and a virtual only fan track channel for panels from your favorite track.  Additionally, we will host the virtual marketplace with any Dragon Con vendors and artists that choose to participate.  Last year we (and they) were blown away by your support and we received so much positive fan feedback, that we decided to make it part of our hybrid event so you can get your shop on from home.  We will also have several events, including some interactive, hosted across our social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Discord.

Are hotels allowing guests to refund or rollover their hotels?

The policy of the hotels are owned by each individual property.  Since we are hosting an in-person event, the policies on our hotel contracts stand and refunds and rollovers cannot be extended as a new policy, however we have been in discussions with the hotels and understand they are handling individual cases based on their corporate policies during this pandemic.  Please reach out to the hotel directly to ask any specific questions on flexible options.

What can we do to get ready for Dragon Con 2021?

First and foremost is taking care of yourself.  Make sure you follow CDC guidelines and continue good, healthy habits.  Get vaccinated when you can.  Science is amazing and we believe strongly in it and encourage everyone who is able to take the step and protect themselves, helping us get back to normalcy one shot and step at a time. And finally, finish up those cosplays, get with friends and plan your journey, and keep an eye on all of our social channels for the most updated information available.