Updates on COVID-19 from the Board

Dear Community,

We want to acknowledge the concerns that you have brought forward regarding Furnal Equinox and it’s decision to continue operations, especially given the responses to the current COVID-19 situation by other professional conferences, trade shows, and other events. We’ve received a lot of feedback and comments, and we’re happy to see the community involved. With that being said, we need your support more than ever right now.

The Furnal Equinox team believes that the best way forward is for us to be as open and transparent as possible, and in doing so, we will do our best to explain the current situation, as well as how you can help.

Q: Why have you not cancelled/delayed the convention?

A: As it currently stands, we have committed to business contracts with multiple vendors that have very specific cancellation terms, much like other conventions have. These terms are intended to protect both Furnal Equinox and our business partners, but breaking these contracts at this late date would put our organization into bankruptcy, threatening any future events (either delayed or for future years).
We recognize that other organizations and businesses have taken different steps, but they are in a more secure position to do so. We’re a small organization that took in just over $150,000 last year, and don’t have that same security.

This has been a subject of great pain for us, one that we have had many discussions upon. We do not wish to put attendees in harm’s way, but we do have to consider that certain decisions we take may end the convention permanently, and we don’t want that outcome.

Q: Why haven’t you said anything about this sooner?

A: The team has been monitoring the evolving situation since mid January when this became known to professional communities and before it was known to the general public. Steps taken have included: ordering sanitation supplies far beyond our normal means, creating/ordering additional signage for awareness, and providing attendees with measures to protect themselves, and broadening our refund policy. Additionally we’ve been working closely with our partners at the Westin Harbour Castle to do our best at keeping everyone safe.

Q: Is there a way to get out of the contract, based on the current emergency situation?

A: Only if we received specific direction from a public health agency or government that the event cannot continue (e.g. ban on mass gatherings above a certain size). Contractually, it would be impossible for us to carry out our obligations in this scenario. We of course would still have obligations to our attendees and exhibitors, and would address those as quickly as possible.

Q: I don’t want to come because I’m concerned about COVID-19, can I get a refund?

A: To ensure our convention has sufficient resources, our policy has always been to roll forward registrations to next year after pre-registration closes.

This year we have decided to allow for refunds in certain circumstances. You can reach out to us at registration@furnalequinox.com, but if you can, please consider accepting a 2021 registration.

Q: How can we as a community help support FE and others to make sure it sticks around?

A: Thankfully, there are options:

  • Rollover your registration
  • Donate your registration
  • Support artists by checking out their listings on our website and purchasing from them
  • Do not attend Furnal Equinox if you are sick
  • Practice proper hygiene and hand washing during this year’s Furnal Equinox
  • Self quarantine after attending Furnal Equinox if possible or practical for 14 days as per current quarantine guidelines

Q: How, and who else, can I help?

A: Be good to the rest of the furry fandom:

  • Please respect other groups that we’re working with. This is a very challenging situation, but it is not the fault of our host venue or anyone else that works with us. We have had a very positive relationship with them so far, and want to maintain this.
  • If you are planning on attending any other conventions this year, please support them too. Many other conventions have a similar business model to us, and are agonizing over similar decisions. A bit of empathy to their volunteers can go a long way.
  • Express your concerns (not specifically about Furnal Equinox, but more generally around large events and mass gatherings) to elected leaders and officials who are responsible for making public health decisions. We are looking to them to inform the public and to keep us safe.

At this point, the situation is still fluid and government agencies are continuing to take appropriate steps to protect the public. If the situation changes we will update you as quickly as possible in order to allow you to revise your plans accordingly.

We hope this explains our situation and thank you for all of you that have taken the time to support us. It means more than we can express here.

Sincerely,

Aaeden, Convention Chair, representing and supported by the Furnal Equinox Directors
(Draculion, Eilowny, Kootenay, Olefin, Paroscin)

Scani, Board President, representing and supported by the Anthropomorphic Events of Ontario Board (Ace Shep, Dralen, Nasi, Nicnak, Skylier)