The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of multiple industry events and conventions, including GDC, EVE Fanfest, QuakeCon, E3, and most recently, Gamescom. Despite that, the Penny Arcade team is still planning to hold PAX West this September, at least for now.
"We tend to be pretty quiet this time of year, but since we’ve had some questions from fans and exhibitors we wanted to let everyone know that as of this moment, we’re still planning on putting together a great PAX West this coming Labor Day Weekend (September 4th - 7th) for you, and we will be updating our website with more information on badges and hotel registration in the coming months," organizers wrote at paxsite.com.
"Our first priority is always your safety, and that extends to issues of public health. As the year progresses, we will continue to monitor the situation and work with health officials at all levels of government, and intend to follow all CDC and WHO guidelines as they are released. That said, actions already taken by our convention center and local government have left us optimistic, and we will continue working with them to make sure we take the correct steps throughout the summer."
KOMO News reported last week that the number of COVID-19 cases in Washington state was "flattening," although not yet decreasing. Dr. Timothy Dellit, chief medical officer at the University of Washington, told the site that "hospitals are able to manage the current level of surge," but he also warned that while there's cause for "cautious optimism" in the region, "we can't let our guard down."
September is still five months away and that's a lot of time for things to change, but there is no guarantee that PAX West won't be cancelled like 2020's other conventions.
Seattle is currently under a stay-at-home order that will be in place until at least May 4. The Seattle Times reported yesterday that more than 2000 protesters recently gathered at the Washington State Capitol to demand that the order be lifted.