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Update, Friday March 6: Emerald City Comic Con finally postpones event, relenting to backlash amid coronavirus outbreak

Emerald City Comic Con organizer Reedpop has relaxed its typical no-refunds policy for attendees who wish to cancel their tickets, but will continue with plans to hold this year’s event in Seattle despite ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 virus.

Following Monday’s announcement that the convention would go ahead as scheduled, ECCC’s management will offer a refund form to fans who don’t wish to attend due to the risks of acquiring or transmitting coronavirus. Attendees must mail back their ticket to receive a refund.

“Knowing that no two fans are alike, we have decided to make an exception to our no refunds ticket policy for our fans who are unable or uncomfortable attending Emerald City Comic Con in light of current events,” Reedpop wrote in a press release.

“We here at Reedpop remain dedicated to running Emerald City Comic Con,” the release continues, “but understand that not everyone will be comfortable with that decision; if you wish to forgo attending this year’s edition of Emerald City Comic Con, we absolutely respect your wishes and will refund your ticket purchase.”

Reedpop said that staffers who decide not to work the convention due to COVID-19 will receive similar considerations. “Staff are stakeholders in this event as well and we will honor their personal preferences.”

ECCC, held every year since 2003, is a major event in the American comics industry, with many artists and writers coming in from across the nation to attend panels and set up booths. The 2019 show attracted 98,000 attendees over the course of four days.

But with event organizers cancelling events across the world and Seattle as an epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus, some have called on Reedpop to cancel ECCC.

Multiple vendors and guests have pulled out from this year’s ECCC, including DC Comics, Dark Horse, Penguin Random House, Valiant Entertainment, and as of this afternoon, the Portland-based Oni Press.

Other guests who’ve cancelled their appearances at this year’s ECCC include Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), Kate Leth (My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Hellcat, Vampirella), Jen Bartel (Blackbird, many covers for Marvel), Jim Zub (Rick & Morty, Uncanny Avengers, Skullkickers), and Seattle-area author A.J. Hackwith (The Library of the Unwritten).

ReedPOP said previously that it will implement enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show.

Seattle-King County public health officials reported 10 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, including one additional death. That brings the total for King County to 31 confirmed cases, with nine deaths. An additional death has been reported in neighboring Snohomish County, and California reported its first coronavirus-related death today.

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