As we inch closer to our weekend of celebration, we are aware of growing concerns in both our community and from government health organizations about the recent outbreak of COVID-19, known as the “Novel Coronavirus”. We want to ensure all our attendees feel safe, informed, and prepared for the weekend, and aim to provide as much reassurance as we can.
What is Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses can cause illness in people and others can cause illness in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person-to-person through close contact.
Novel coronaviruses are new strains of coronaviruses that have not been previously identified in humans. A novel coronavirus has emerged in Wuhan, China which is called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19.
What is Furnal Equinox Doing About It?
Our Directors are reviewing contingency planning and assessing recommendations from health officials and public sources to plan an appropriate level of response at Furnal Equinox, and we are not currently planning to delay or cancel our event.
We will be making our best effort to provide additional resources to support our attendees in following the recommended guidelines outlined in this document. We will be providing publicly accessible hand sanitizer, and working with our internal departments to follow appropriate cleaning procedures of frequently used items to reduce risk of spread of any disease. We look for the support of our attendees in familiarizing themselves with these guidelines.
What is Westin Harbour Castle Doing About It?
The Westin Harbour Castle, as a public venue, is taking this seriously and is aiming to provide support for their patrons. The Westin will be providing sanitizing stations in common areas of the hotel (lobby and open convention space) and is taking particular care of surface cleaning and in all common areas and guest rooms. All staff and housekeeping teams employed by the Westin are also appropriately equipped with masks and gloves to reduce surface contact.
The Westin will be posting additional signage regarding the standards of proper hand washing procedures in line with official recommendations.
In general, human coronaviruses commonly cause mild but occasionally more severe respiratory infections. It is estimated that they cause about 15% of common colds. Coronaviruses can also cause more severe illnesses.
Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Muscle aches and tiredness
- Difficulty breathing
- Less commonly: sore throat, headache, and diarrhea have been reported. Older patients and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.
What To Do If You Have Symptoms
The risk of developing symptoms of COVID-19 without visiting an affected region or interacting with someone already infected is still extremely low. In the event you do develop symptoms relating to COVID-19, it is recommended that you self isolate (stay home, off public transit, and do not have visitors) and contact your medical provider remotely.
How To Protect Yourself
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Prevention measures include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill
- Stay home when you are ill
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands
- If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Additional information from the World Health Organization is available for proper hand washing procedures.
Independent of the coronavirus guidelines, we recommend that any attendees remain familiar with and try to respect the informal 6-2-1 rule common to furry conventions. For those unfamiliar, this rule outlines a minimum requirement of:
- 6 hours of sleep per night
- 2 full meals a day
- 1 shower per day
These steps can help improve your convention experience and keep your body ready to fight off germs and con crud!
The steps outlined above are good procedures for any illness, not just COVID-19. Following these procedures will help you fight con crud as well.
Keep in mind that just because someone coughs, it does not mean that they automatically have the infection. If it’s to your comfort, take extra steps and keep your distance, but remember that all attendees deserve to be treated appropriately and with respect.
References (most provided information is directly from these sources)
Toronto’s Coronavirus Fact Sheet (TPH)
Toronto’s Coronavirus Reference Page (Frequently Updated) (TPH)
If you still have any questions or concerns about precautionary measures being taken at our event or venue, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We still plan on hosting a memorable and fun weekend with the furry community, and look forward to seeing you there.