UK Games Expo 2021 reverses previous stance and now will take extra Covid precautions at in-person event

The tabletop gaming showcase won’t require masks, social-distancing or a negative test to attend

Update (14 July): The UK Games Expo has reversed its previous stance, and taken a whole bunch of measures to protect con-goers. Visitors will now need an NHS Covid Pass, wear a facemask at all times and tables and aisles have now been spaced out to give people more room to responsibly distance.

You can read more on the Expo’s Play With Confidence page.

Original Story (9 July): UK Games Expo has announced it won’t be enforcing any personal COVID-19 health and safety requirements when it comes to the Birmingham NEC later this month.

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Taking place less than two weeks after restrictions are lifted in the UK (July 30 – August 1), the latest rules for the board game event show that the mandatory wearing of face masks, enforced social distancing or proof of receiving a negative Lateral Flow Test won’t be required for exhibitors and attendees. There will also be no cap on the amount of people attending.

“UKGE will not enforce any requirements that are not legally required as we do not believe that will be practical on the day,” say the updated guidelines.

However, the guidelines also suggest people take a COVID-19 test before attending but organisers “will not be checking this test”. UKGE does however recommend attendees bringing a mask “as you may find times during the day where you decide it is sensible to wear one”.

UK Games Expo 2019
UK Games Expo 2019. Credit: UK Games Expo

Other changes for the event include additional spacing at open gaming tables to allow some social distancing, 4m-wide aisles in all halls and an increased area for ticketing to reduce queueing times.

There will also be hand sanitiser stations, specialist cleaning teams focused on high traffic areas, and the venue itself has hospital level ventilation.

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Almost 26,000 people reportedly attended the last physical UK Games Expo in 2019 which was replaced in 2020 by the online Virtually Expo.

UK Games Expo 2021 will be one of the first trade events to return as an in-person event following the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month’s E3 was a virtual event with organisers creating “a bespoke online portal and app that will allow fans, media and industry professionals to have an E3 experience designed to run parallel to the four-day broadcast, laying the foundation for interactive E3 elements to continue beyond this year’s all-virtual show.”

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