PAX West, the Seattle-based gaming convention run by Penny Arcade and ReedPop, has reversed its lax stance on COVID safety. Anyone attending the event will now need either proof that they’ve been vaccinated or a recent, negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test.
PAX West 2020 was canceled, like many other events, due to the coronavirus pandemic last year. The event and its organizers quickly drew criticism earlier this year for announcing that the event would take place in person without any vaccination requirements. Along with a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination, attendees of PAX West will need to provide a “valid, government-issued ID.”
In an email, ReedPop global gaming event director Kyle Marsden-Kish wrote “We are pleased to announce that, in line with the recommendations of state and local public health authorities, we will be implementing a vaccination or negative COVID-19 test requirement for everyone at PAX West.”
We're pleased to announce that, in line with the recommendations of state and local public health authorities, we will be implementing a vaccination or negative COVID-19 test requirement for everyone at #PAXWest. Read the full update at: https://t.co/1ZtYPOCQeI pic.twitter.com/hZJkFeRngR
— PAX (@pax) July 27, 2021
The driving force behind this change in position may be the Delta variant of COVID-19. This version of the virus, first spotted in Washington State this past April, is “more transmissible compared with other variants” according to the Washington State Department of Health. Washington State recently rescinded a majority of its COVID restrictions, but the virus is still present in the state.
Notably, in King County, which includes Seattle, positive cases of COVID-19 have been increasing steadily since the start of July. That being said, the positive case rate is still far below where it was during the virus’ peak last year. PAX West 2021 is currently set to begin on September 3.