On August 11, 2021, the CDC has streamlined Covid-19 guidance to help the public better protect themselves and understand their risk. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/p0811-covid-guidance.html This release has more to do with individuals and how to protect themselves than with how businesses can protect their patrons.

The CDC currently has two separate maps to follow, they are community levels and transmission levels for the state and country. The maps are now part of the same page on the CDC’s website which can make things confusing for the public. The two maps are the “Covid 19 Community Levels” map and the “Community Transmissions” map. The “Covid 19 Community Levels” map is to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. According to this new tool, currently, all the counties in Arizona are Community Level: Low except for Gila, Navajo, Graham, Santa Cruz, Apache Yuma, and La Paz which are Community Level: Medium and High. 

The “COVID-19 Integrated County View Community Transmission” map shows the actual community transmission levels of Covid in each county in each state.  This is the map that Monkey Paw Entertainment has been following since 2021. According to the “COVID-19 Integrated County View” map currently, all of Arizona is at high Covid transmission except for Greenlee County which is at substantial transmission, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=all_states&list_select_county=&data-type=Risk

We have waited till the Monday before the event to make our final decision on the steps we will take to make sure everyone stays safe at our event. According to the tool “COVID-19 Integrated County View Community Transmission”, current levels are still much worse than they were at the beginning of summer. At this point of the Omicron variant, we were hoping that the latest surge would be over by the time Saboten Con 2022 comes around, but that is not the case. Omicron BA.5 is more transmissible than past variants. With the latest “COVID-19 Integrated County View Community Transmission” map showing not only Maricopa County, but the entire state of Arizona in High, except for Greenlee County, we have decided, once again, to require all attendees, regardless of vaccination status, over the age of 5 to wear a mask to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as keep everyone safe. For those in attendance that cannot wear a mask for health reasons, we ask that you wear a face shield [If you do not own a face shield, we will have some to purchase at registration for $2]. We will also provide normal face masks at registration at no cost in the event you forgot or lost yours.

We will also be enforcing the mask mandate during the event to ensure everyone stays safe. If a staff member sees you in our contracted event space not wearing your mask you will be asked to put your mask on. If you are warned additional times to put your mask on you may be asked to leave the event and no refund will be given for your badge. It is not our intention to remove attendees from the event and we will make sure that every effort is made before anyone is removed from the event.

Times that you can remove your mask include eating and drinking (there is a designated eating area on the 4th floor [Valley Overlook] outside), taking photos, running a panel as a panelist, and during Masquerade judging and performing.

The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown will also have different cleaning procedures in place due to Covid-19. “Enhanced Public Space Cleaning: We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection, particularly in areas with high traffic including restrooms, elevators, and escalators as well as provided more hand sanitizing stations.

Electrostatic Spraying: We're utilizing enhanced technologies, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants, to support our already rigorous cleanliness protocols.

Room Amenities: In-room coffee makers are not currently available, but guests can request contactless coffee delivery. Disinfectant wipes are available in the room for every arriving guest as well as upon request.

Every guest room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to your arrival. During your stay, we will not provide housekeeping automatically every day. If you wish to receive daily housekeeping refresh service, please let our guest services team know. We will be happy to schedule service according to your preferences. Please note that if you are staying with us a bit longer, we will automatically clean your guest room after every 6th night.”

If you choose to not attend this year due to our Covid-19 policy, we will be allowing anyone after the show ends to request their badge be rolled to 2023 if you didn’t use it this year. All you will need to do is email sales@monkey-paw.com after September 6th, 2022, with the email you used to purchase your badge and request your purchases be rolled to our 2023 event.

If you have questions or comments on this policy please email safety@monkey-paw.com