ASLOK Thoughts in the Age of Covid

Plans for attending ASLOK XXXV?

  • Wasn't planning on attending anyway...

    Votes: 46 40.0%
  • Will be there, masks or not...

    Votes: 17 14.8%
  • Will be there, but only if masks are required...

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • Will be there, but only if masks aren't required...

    Votes: 4 3.5%
  • Won't be attending due to Covid, but had been planning on it pre-pandemic...

    Votes: 20 17.4%
  • Might be there - depends on how the pandemic develops by the Fall...

    Votes: 20 17.4%
  • Might be there - depends on non-pandemic things like $, vacation, spousal approval, etc...

    Votes: 7 6.1%

  • Total voters
    115
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Bret Hildebran

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We are currently pondering what had previously been unfathomable, should we hold ASLOK this year? I had been delaying making a decision for as long as possible in order to collect more information and hope that perhaps by Oktober things might be getting back to something approaching "normal". "Normal" is seeming less and less likely for the near term which leaves a great quandary as to how best to proceed.

The hotel indicates they would be able to host our size gathering, at least under current restrictions, so that is not anticipated to be an issue unless OH reverses course on restrictions.

Wild Bill & I talked it over some last week. Bill was leaning slightly against while I was slightly pro which probably leaves our consensus at still a coin flip, although I admit my optimism has been waning over the course of the last few days.

At this point, my fundamental belief is if we are willing to host, then it is up to attendees to determine if they want to take the risk of attending. In a perfect world, I would like to come to a conclusion in June if possible, although if we stay on, we will always be at risk of cancellation if restrictions back slide in the fall unfortunately.

Thanks for any thoughts...
 

Gunner Scott

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It is a super tough call, especially with many European countries banning travel to the USA. I want to go but do I really want to take chance and catch coved 19? I would say cancel it until a vaccine is found, we as ASL'ers might adhere to washing hands and whereing masks and so on, but who knows how healthy the staff or other guests are.
 

The Magnus

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Had You avsked me in January I would have said that only a major family event could have kept me from attending ASLOK and Albany. After all, Corona was just a beer 😀.

As for now, everything is totally up in the air, and theoretically everything can change for the better or worse, but given the following factors I would say that there is a 99% probability that I will NOT attend:
  1. Travel/visa recommendations/bans of Sweden, the EU and the US.
  2. Availability of flights. Price of flights.
  3. Personal judgement on risk of getting COVID-19.
  4. Fine print of my travel insurance (US hospitals are not for free).
  5. ASLOK taking place.
it might be that the 11 tournaments I attended last year will shrink to the 2 i have already attended this year, or it might be that I can attend a couple of late fall European Tournaments but that point 4 alone keeps me from ASLOK and Albany. Sad.

I do not envy you in the decision you will have to take, but I would be very surprised if you get many/any non-Canadian foreigners this year. Double sad.
 

asloser

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Had You avsked me in January I would have said that only a major family event could have kept me from attending ASLOK and Albany. After all, Corona was just a beer 😀.

As for now, everything is totally up in the air, and theoretically everything can change for the better or worse, but given the following factors I would say that there is a 99% probability that I will NOT attend:
  1. Travel/visa recommendations/bans of Sweden, the EU and the US.
  2. Availability of flights. Price of flights.
  3. Personal judgement on risk of getting COVID-19.
  4. Fine print of my travel insurance (US hospitals are not for free).
  5. ASLOK taking place.
it might be that the 11 tournaments I attended last year will shrink to the 2 i have already attended this year, or it might be that I can attend a couple of late fall European Tournaments but that point 4 alone keeps me from ASLOK and Albany. Sad.

I do not envy you in the decision you will have to take, but I would be very surprised if you get many/any non-Canadian foreigners this year. Double sad.
On top of this at least in Finland you are required as per government instruction to take a two week quarantine upon returning from US, and my employer does not recommend leisure travel to US. I do not see these restrictions being lifted anytime soon as USA is still far away from getting the situation under control.

I am making plans for ASLOK 2021.
 

Sparafucil3

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I am back in the US for my daughter's wedding. Upon arrival, the CDC recommends I spend two weeks in quarantine. I will spend one week with family. Upon my return to Germany, I will be required to spend two weeks in quarantine. All of these requirements are fluid. As it stands now, it pains me to say, but if I had planned to go to ASLOk, I would cancel. Spending four weeks in isolation, to go spend one week playing a game seems a tough choice to make. The added expense of staying in a hotel room for two weeks is more than enough to make me say no. I would go stir crazy sitting in the room with nothing to do. Imagine the process of getting food delivered 2+ times a day. The logistics are just too hard. JMO, YMMV.

All of that and we haven't even begun to talk about how smart such an action would or would not be. -- jim
 

The Magnus

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4. Fine print of my travel insurance (US hospitals are not for free).
Updated after checking. The Swedish Foreign Office maintains a list of countries they recommend people not to visit due to COVID-19 (No ”ban”, just a recommendation). The US is on that list. My travel insurance will not pay for any COVID-19 related treatments if I travel to any of these countries. So travel to the US is definitely out for me for the moment.

interestingly enough, this was not in ”fine print”. Right on top of their web page.
 
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pwashington

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My ability to attend was already up in the air based on the government contract I support being up for re-award this summer. Before the pandemic hit, my fear was that the transition to the new contract would interfere with ASLOK. That is still a possibility, but the impact of the virus may override any contract issues. I would still consider attending, but likely wouldn't have enough information until late Aug to make the decision, and I understand that would be too late to lock in an event like this.

One option not listed in the survey choices was conducting some portion (minis?) of ASLOK virtually via VASL. Several local tournaments in the US (and I think overseas as well) have gone to that option this year, and they appear to have had a fair amount of success. I haven't been attending ASLOK for that many years, but much of the attraction of being there is the gathering itself, combined with the opportunity to play against a global pool of opponents. The fact that there is usually global participation in the event each year may impact the feasibility of doing it virtually (time zones might be a challenge when matching opponents). I already anticipated that if if was held this year, the US vs. The World competition would probably not happen.

Is there a minimum physical attendance number that is needed to make the event financially viable? If the survey only indicates 20 or so people would definitely attend, is that enough to hold it? I would be disappointed if it didn't happen this year, but would support whatever decisions Bret and crew make.
 

Mister T

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At this point, my fundamental belief is if we are willing to host, then it is up to attendees to determine if they want to take the risk of attending.
It may be a bit too black or white: either no meeting or free will from attendees, there is a middle ground: a event with specific rules.

I think the event may take place if the sanitary situation improves AND if a number of exceptional measures, accepted by ALL participants, are in place:

1. Closed event. People must register in advance to access the ballroom.

2. Capped number of registrations. Depending on social distancing rules/guidance in OH, the organizer should determine how many players the room can attend given its width, size of tables. Should not be too difficult to compute, that's a math exercise for high school pupils.

3. Wearing a face mask at all time in the ballroom.

4. Paths for moving IN and OUT of the ballroom should be distinct. I vaguely remember it is possible. Correct?

5. (optional) players must bring their laptop and must play VASL on-site (can the hotel Wi-Fi cope with that?)

With any/some/all the measures in place, the organizer will show its willingness to limit the risks, but it will be to each and every player to assess the pros and cons and take an individual decision accordingly.

(the issue of foreign players is secondary as they account for only a small fraction of total attendance and this will be for the departing/host State to decide anyway)
 

Carln0130

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Bret,
Not sure where your finances for the event are, but diminished attendance is certainly another consideration. Having now known 7 people personally who have had this and having seen the hell they went through, I will not be risking it sans vaccine. I understand mileage may vary. Good luck.
 

Tooz

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I plan on attending and will take all the precautions. I will be returning to work soon and will be tested weekly, along with having my temperature taken daily. I will always support any decision you make, Bret. I cherish the memories of every ASLOK I have attended but know that with advancing age, my supply of future ASLOKs will be reduced with each passing year.
 

The Purist

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I was planning on attending this year as my first ASLOK but Covid and border restrictions have made that unlikely (at least for now).

Would it be possible to do an eASLOK as has been done with other events? It would be a lot of work considering the length but it could save this year's event from "a miss"
 

wrongway149

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Is there a minimum physical attendance number that is needed to make the event financially viable? If the survey only indicates 20 or so people would definitely attend, is that enough to hold it? I would be disappointed if it didn't happen this year, but would support whatever decisions Bret and crew make.
There are a lot of ASLOk regulars not on here -or even Facebook. From the initial replies- it would suggest that attendance will be down, which would allow social distance measures to be more effective.
 

Spencer Armstrong

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Had been leaning towards trying to make it this year but now would consider it irresponsible and won't be coming even if it's held. Whatever the guidelines allow and masks or not, it's a lot of bodies being circulated in the same room over and over. Especially considering the demographics and some of the flippant disregard for precautions I've heard several ASLers proclaim, the risk of somebody bringing covid and sharing with everyone is just too high for it to make sense IMO.
 

davegin

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I understand travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for foreign countries making attendance next to impossible. The health question is and never was a problem for me. If the hotel has no restrictions and ohio has no restrictions I don't see a problem. We have lived and played through worse. If you think sitting across the table from me is going to kill you then you should stay locked away. If not let's play
 

wrongway149

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WargameHQ

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This was going to be my first ASL convention ever, but clearly COVID-19 has put a dump on that. IF things are SIGNIFICANTLY better by then (vaccine / widely accessible treatment with virtually no hospitalizations) I might still consider. I can't just roll the dice...har har.

My concern is that folks don't always know that they're positive and shedding the virus. Mask or not, in an indoor room full of folks just doesn't seem like a good idea until there is substantial improvement in treatment.
 
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