Dragon Con Adopts Health & Safety Protocols

by Miclpea

On August 1st, Dragon Con released its much-anticipated safety and health protocols for Dragon Con 2021. Most of the new requirements such as mandatory mask usage, reduced attendance, reduced seating for panels, social distancing, and additional cleaning came as no surprise. Many of these requirements are standard for large gatherings this Fall. What is noticeably missing is a vaccination requirement to attend. Dragon Con will not be asking for proof of vaccination to attend as of this August 1, 2021 press briefing.

In a major break from tradition, the Dragon Con Parade will be closed to the general public. The parade, which in the past has drawn more than 75,000 spectators, will be modified and scaled back. It will be smaller than in past years with fewer marching participants and spectators will not be allowed on the route.  Only Dragon Con badge holders will be allowed to watch the parade in person. Non-badge holders can watch the parade on CW69 (the Dragon Con broadcast partner), or online at YouTube and other social media platforms.

Also, for Dragon Con fans who are not comfortable with attending a live convention (or who are blocked by international travel restrictions), Dragon Con has a new program, Dragon Con Goes Virtual. This is a live-streamed version of the convention that will be available for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their own home in the company of close friends and family.  The cost of the subscription for this program will be $10.

Here are more details from Dragon Con.

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 (link to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html) and City of Atlanta requirements (link to https://www.atlantaga.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/52010).
  • 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. Additionally, we have 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.
  • In the Walk of Fame, we will have approximately 50 percent 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 described here (https://www.dragoncon.org/about/dragon-con-policies/) remains in effect and will be strictly enforced.
  • Other specific changes to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion include:
    1. The Concourse Stages will have longer breaks between each performance, rotating between both locations with fewer bands and performances overall.
    2. Fan tables will not be openly available for 2021 to reduce lobby congestion and improve traffic flow.
    3. The Dragon Con traditional arcade partner, Joystick Game Bar, will move from the AmericasMart to a unique pop-up experience located at 161 Peachtree Center Ave NE, with activities going on from 10 am -4 am daily. Dragon con members can get in for free.
    4. The Chose Costume Contest, hosted annually at Dragon Con Night at the Georgia Aquarium, will take a hiatus to prevent crowding.

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 will be available in the Savannah Ballroom will be available 24 hours a day, except during daily cleaning periods.


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 are excited to again partner with Epic Photo Ops, which has adjusted its 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 https://epicphotoops.com/covid-19
  • 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 online at YouTube and other social media platforms.


Here is a link to all of the Dragon Con protocols and convention changes for the 2021 convention: https://www.dragoncon.org/updates/.

This year promises to be a very challenging time for convention-goers. However, with the proper precautions, adherence to all the safety protocols, and constant vigilance, convention-goers will have a fun and safe time.

Please remember to check with the conventions for their latest safety protocols.

If you want to continue this discussion, please join us on the FoCC Forum (click here), Facebook, or Twitter.



I love going to conventions around the US. I'm an ardent fan of all things science fiction and especially The Expanse. I'm a staff writer for Friends of CC and I have co-written a science-fiction script called Punctuated Equilibrium.

%d bloggers like this: