NDK&

COVID19

RMAA’s event modifictions and policies to provide a fun, inclusive, and meaningful convention experience.

Amabie with a mask - Irasutoya - マスクをしたアマビエのイラスト
Green Light

September 16, 2021

NDK Convention Status: Currently, for SEP 2021, we are planning on a “GO” for our convention. We will update this status as necessary should anything change between now and Labor Day Weekend

Update AUG 29, 2021: We will be refining our modifications listed below to meet the COVID environment we anticipate being in effect by Labor Day. Please check this page regularly for updates and changes to earlier modifications. We may need to make changes right up until the convention starts, so please be flexible and understanding.

 

 

Our Response

The Rocky Mountain Anime Assoctiation (RMAA) Board of Directors have been meeting regularly and keeping close watch on the evolving public health situation since the COVID-19 pandmeic began.  This situation is unprecedented.

As our Labor Day event, NDK, approaches, we have made the following changes to create a safer convention environment for our Attendees, Staff, and Volunteers. These changes are pending State, Local, and Venue requirements that may chage at any time.  

Please keep in mind that Colorado’s Governor may issue orders that can yet result in the cancellation of our event by September.  Please check this site for our current status and updates on other changes we may have to implement along the way.  Things can change quickly, but we will do our best to keep you informed. We ask for your patience and cooperation; these procedures are new to all of us! 

2021 NDK Mask Requirement

Due to the increasing rates of transmission, and the increasing risks of the new COVID-19 variants, the Rocky Mountain Anime Association (RMAA) Board of Directors is hereby enforcing a MASK REQUIREMENT for all of its upcoming events (NDK, NDK NYE) through 2021. This policy will be changed or cancelled as the ongoing pandemic conditions evolve and CDC/Venue/TriCounty Health/State guidance or public health orders update going forward. Written notice will be given for any future changes to this policy.

Please read the FULL POLICY, and associated links regarding ADA considerations BEFORE attending NDK (Link).

SUMMARY EXCERPT:

The RMAA board will continually monitor and make necessary changes to our events regarding the developing COVID conditions as necessary, even during the event itself if needed.  This action means modifications may be put in place with little notice and attendees and volunteer staff will be expected to comply.  We apologize for the difficulties this may cause, and ask for your patience and understanding as we all adjust to the constantly changing landscape. We will continually update our existing COVID Status Page (link) and make announcements as changes to our policies and events occur.  Please bookmark this page and visit regularly for the latest information.

What This Mask Requirement Means: RMAA is now requiring all Volunteer Staff, Guests, and Attendees, age 12 and older, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in any indoor setting of contracted event space.  Signs will be placed within the indoor convention space further notifying eveyone of this requirement. Anyone not able to medically tolerate a face covering will be asked to wear the best face PPE suitable for their situation (i.e. face shields). If an alternate style face covering or face shield cannot accomodate your situation, we are sorry, but attending NDK and/or NDK NYE this year will not be possible. Anyone found within indoor convention space not wearing a mask or other suitable face PPE will have their badge punched for the first violation. Upon the second violation, they will be asked to leave the convention space immediately.

The ADA and Face Mask Policies

What This Mask Requirement Does Not Mean: By instituting this Mask policy, RMAA is taking action to improve the safety for everyone in the contracted convention space within our control.  Until there is a Gaylord/Marriott or State of Colorado Mask Policy in place, our Mask Policy cannot cover the entire Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. We can only control the indoor space we “own” during the convention and are unable to enforce our requirements on the rest of the Gaylord common or outdoor space.

This means that even with our Mask Requirement in place, you will still see individuals maskless in the hotel. This environment will cause some confusion, so we want to communicate this clearly from the start. It would take a Venue, County Health, or State policy to be enacted prior to the convention that would remove this complication and make the environment within Gaylord entirely consistent.  For now, we are doing all we can for the indoor areas we control.  

Wear Your Mask Properly - Let's Take Care of Each Other!

Ensure a good fit/seal by making sure your mask covers your nose and mouth, and is secured under your chin. Masks should fit snugly against the sides of your face.

CDC Guide to Masks (link)

 

Can't Medically Wear a Mask?

Excerpt: On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on face masks for fully vaccinated people. The CDC recommends that face masks be worn by everyone, regardless of vaccination status.[1] The guidance specifically states that a fully vaccinated person should “wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”[32]

If a person with a disability is not able to wear a face mask, state and local government agencies and private businesses must consider reasonable modifications to a face mask policy so that the person with the disability can participate in, or benefit from, the programs offered or goods and services that are provided. A reasonable modification means changing policies, practices, and procedures, if needed, to provide goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to an individual with a disability.[10] It is important to focus on how to provide goods or services to a customer with a disability in an equal manner. This can be done by reasonably modifying your policies, practices, or procedures.

Examples of reasonable modifications to a face mask policy

    • Allow a person to wear a scarf, loose face covering, or full face shield instead of a face mask.
    • Allow customers to order online with curbside pick-up or no contact delivery in a timely manner.
    • Allow customers to order by phone with curb-side pick-up or no contact delivery in a timely manner.
    • Allow a person to wait in a car for an appointment and enter the building when called or texted.
    • Offer appointments by telephone or video calls.

Because NDK is only a 3-day event, in rented space, the most reasonable modifications we can offer are allowing for other types of face coverings that better accomodate individual needs.  If you cannot wear a medical face mask, we will accept scarfs, gaiters, loose face coverings, or full face shields instead of a mask.  We will have face shields available for attendees, if requested.

 

If these modifications will not work for you, then we cannot admit you to NDK this year.  If you have items or goods already purchased, we can send someone to retireve your purchase on your behalf and bring it to you. See Operations or a member of NDK Security to make a pick-up request.  If you have already purchased a badge, we are offiering full refunds/rollovers/transfers through September 15th for any unclaimed badges.  We’re sorry for the inconvenience, and realize that this may be a big disspointment to some. Please understand this is done to help protect our attendees, even those who cannot attend. Thank you for your understanding.

 

RMAA Statement on Vaccines (Coming Soon)

At this time, we are not implementing a vaccine requirement to attend NDK. This is a very complex matter, so we want to be sure we address it well, and will add more to this answer soon.  We realize that not everyone will agree with this decision, regardless of our rationale, but it’s important to disclose how we came to it. The RMAA board supports the science behind vaccinations and encourages everyone, including volunteer staff and attendees, who can get a vaccination to do so. #vaccineswork. 

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center Aurora, CO

Gaylord Rockies Cleaning Standards

  • Want to know what the hotel is doing to help keep you safe? Follow these links: What to Expect at the Gaylord Rockies and The Gaylord’s Commitment to Clean 
  • In addition to the Marriott standards, The Gaylord Rockies is also part of the 5 Star State Certification Program. Colroado 5 Star certification reassures employees and customers that businesses are adhering to enhanced guidance. The program is completely voluntary and also serves as an expanding directory of establishments recognized for their efforts to keep their communities safe and open.
  • Gaylord Air Filtration Information: Every room has an individual fancoil unit, which is an evaporator with chilled/hot water, and they all filter in outside air into the rooms. Every room also has their own MERV 8 filter, and those are inspected and changed every quarter in public spaces, and 3X a year in guest rooms. Each room has its own thermostat as well. This means guests rooms do not share ventilation or HVAC with the adjoining rooms!
  • The Gaylord’s ventilation system was commissioned for the grand opening in January of 2020, so all air handling equipment is running as designed per ASHRAE standards. This system includes HEPA filters in the kitchen hoods and in other strategic locations throughout the entire property.
  • Specialized hotel staff will be dedicated to regular cycles of guest touch point sanitization. High-touch points such as conference room doors, light switches and other equipment will be sanitized after each group’s use.
  • Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers will be used for deep sanitization of all meeting room hard surfaces and chairs overnight; completed before the start of the next day’s sessions
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the meeting spaces, convention center, breakout spaces and corridors
Amabie spacing apart - Irasutoya - 間隔を空けるアマビエのイラスト
Washing Hands
Washing Hands

Attendee Social Contract

No matter how many safety and cleaning precautions are implemented, ultimately, safety also depends on the actions of attendees.

If you are not feeling well, or are not comfortable attending for any reason, please contact Registration to discuss your options. We will be extending the donate/rollover/refund options through September 15, 2021 for any unclaimed badges. It may take us a little while to process badge change requests, so we do ask your patience.

 Due to the immense size of the Gaylord and its surrounding outside grounds, it is possible to maintain a social distance from others.  Watch for signage to facilitate any required distancing in lines, and other likely gathering areas. 

Be vigilant in avoiding large clusters of people and contact with people outside of those in your household bubble.

Healthy people play a critical role in limiting spread

Practicing social distancing isn’t necessarily about protecting yourself;  it’s about protecting the most vulnerable people in our community. We all need to champion social distancing and other healthy behaviors where we live, work, and play.

Creating distance between people slows community spread of COVID-19. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will decrease the daily number of cases and hospitalizations that occur in Colorado. Fewer hospitalized cases at one time are needed to make sure our hospitals have the staff and equipment they need to take care of the sickest people.

We all have a role to play, and we’re all in this together. We urge Coloradans to exercise personal responsibility to protect public health.

 covid-19.colorado.org

Washing hands regularly fights COVID and “CON CRUD”

Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds each time, and make frequent use of the highly visible hand sanitizer stations available at the Gaylord. Continued diligence in hygiene should also help prevent the traditional “con crud” from large group gatherings.  The pandemic distancing measures since 2020 means many folks have not experienced the cold or flu in well over a year! It would be awesome to keep those from recurring too! Wash up!  

EVERYONE 2+ is Required to mask up!

“Mask-wearing and vaccination are the two most important tools Coloradans can use to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bring us closer to the end of the pandemic.” covid-19.colorado.gov 

RMAA has enacted a Mask Requirement Policy.  Please read before attending NDK. If you no longer can or wish to attend NDK due to this requirement, and have already purchased a badge, please contact Registration to discuss your rollover/transfer/refund options.

Everyone is still capable of carrying and spreading COVID and its Variants. We strongly encourage being vaccinated before attending NDK. Being vaccintated means you are the least likely to contract/carry the virus or suffer its worst effects should you become one of the rare breakthrough cases. It does not make you entrely immune from spreading the virus to others, however.

Wearing a mask keeps everyone safer.  Not everyone can get vaccinated; not everyone can wear a mask. But the more of us who do, the better it will be for everyone. If you cannot wear a mask, please wear alternate PPE that works for your situation. (i.e. face shields.) And regardless, wear your PPE properly. A mask that doesn’t cover your nose, isn’t really filtering anything from you or to your lungs!  

If there is no PPE that works for you, and you cannot get vaccinated, going to large events, like NDK, may not be the best option for you at this time.  We will miss you, but there will be more NDKs in the future. There’s only one you. Please join us next year, or contact us to discuss your badge transfer/rollover/refund options.  

 

Staff and Volunteer Requirements

All NDK Staff will be required to wear masks at all times while on the convention floor for the safety of all attendees.

All NDK Staff will have access to hand sanitizer, gloves, and be asked to wash their hands as frequently as possible for 20 seconds each time.

Certain Staff areas may have an internal vaccination policy when staff duties include extreme proximity or contact from Staff as part of the activity, i.e. Cosplay Judging. Staff will be offered alternate duties as necessary.

 

NDK’s Registration

System Reinvented  

Effective immediately, for the saftey of both Attendees and Staff, all monetary transactions will be processed digitally. NO CASH will be accepted by NDK, for registration or events.  

NDK is launching a Will-Call registration process that will minimize contact for all attendees. Will Call registrations may be purchased digitally both online before the convention, and onsite.

Your badges are going to look different. Pre-registration names will no longer be printed on each badge to minimize contact for the safety of our attendees. This means that less people are touching the badges before they are handed to attendees.

All Badges will include a QR Code. This QR code will enable: 

Room Capacity Tracking

    • To safely count the number of people in each room in the Convention Hall, NDK Staff will be scanning the badge of every attendee before they enter and sometimes when exiting a room.
    • Each room will have a safe capacity based on square footage, and NDK will keep the population below that number at all times. (There are currently no State restrictions on capacity in effect.)
    • If necessary, NDK will consider capping attendance based on state regulations and capacity requirements. 

 

Registration Waiver Statement

While NDK will be implementing cleaning and distancing procedures to hold a modified convention during the COVID-19 Pandemic, by purchasing a ticket, attendees agree to assume any personal risk of infection as it is impossible to entirely mitigate the risks associated with attending this event. 

The full legal text of this waiver will appear before purchasing any tickets to our event.

Amabie spacing apart - Irasutoya - 間隔を空けるアマビエのイラスト

Main Events, Panel Rooms and Video Rooms

These are the steps we’re going to be taking in these rooms beyond what the Gaylord is taking.  Loading in, going out and wait times between events and panels will increased in order to allow for social distancing and extra cleaning.

N

Seating

All chairs in Main Events and panel rooms will be set up more distanced than in years past. Families and house mates are welcome to pull their chairs together, but must maintain social distance from other attendees. 

N

Room population

We will be limited to the number currently allowed per the state government’s issued guidelines. This number is based on the square footage of each individual room. Any previous restrictions on room capacity have been lifted, and currently there are no State Government capacity restrictions in place. 

N

Table cleaning

All rooms with tables will be sanitized between each panel or event by NDK staff.

Panels

  • Attendees will recieve printed laminated cards representing your space in line with a time and location to line up.  This is to help limit congregation before panels begin.
  • See the Panel Table for more information. 
Amabie with a mask - Irasutoya - マスクをしたアマビエのイラスト

Video Gaming Room and Japanese Arcade

  • All Gaming Console Stations will be spaced at least 6’ apart. 
  • Controllers will be wiped down between each player. 
  • For Japanese Arcade, and larger arcade machines, all surfaces will be wiped down at a minimum of every 15 mins. 

Cosplay Contestants

  • The Cosplay Contest Greenroom will be held in a private room off of Main Events that has 6,180 square feet. With that much square feet, we can comfortably space out contestants at a 6’ distance from each other. 
  • No scoring penalties for contestants incorporating face masks or other PPE into their cosplay.
  • We will be staggering contestants into Main Events backstage to just a handful of people at a time, therefore limiting contact in the smaller backstage area. 

Dances & Raves

With the lifting of State restrictions, dances are once again possible.  However, Masks must be left on during the Rave and the Jpop dance at all times. We know this is difficult, but due to the high respiratory nature of dancing, we have no choice but to insist upon this measure. Do your best to keep as distanced from other dancers as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Status as of August 2021

Q: Is NDK really going forward in 2021? Even with the Delta and Lambda Variants popping up?

 A: As of right now, we are planning to hold NDK, with additional safety and health precautions in place to prioritize the health of our attendees. We are continually working with our amazing venue, the Gaylord Rockies to create an environment that makes it possible for NDK to go forward. To learn about everything the Gaylord has implemented to help keep you safe visit these links: What to Expect at the Gaylord Rockies, and the Gaylord’s Commitment to Clean

Because we are under contract with the Gaylord, we cannot cancel the event without a huge financial penalty.  Force Majeure is the only thing that can release us from our contractual obligations for another year.  We realize that not everyone will feel comfortable attending, nor do we expect everyone to.

If you are concerned about attending, and believe us, we find this situation concerning too, DO NOT ATTEND.  Contact us if you have already purchased or rolled over a badge to 2021 and we can discuss your options.  Please give us a little time to assist, however, as the registration staff is quite busy at this time.

We are saddened that it is once again is coming to this. Summer of 2021 seemed so promising, with vaccines becoming available and cases going down. But practically overnight, the trajectories have changed for the worst.  Please bear with us as we continually assess and update our convention plans. We are making changes now, and expect we will need to do so right through the convention.

Q: Why not just cancel or postpone until later in the year? Or better yet, 2022?

We signed our multi-year contract with the Gaylord about 4 years ago, when no one could have anticipated the world being overcome by a global pandemic.

Being under contract with any venue means an event can’t be cancelled without a huge financial penalty, and as a Non-Profit Organization, we simply do not have the resources to absorb such financial loss and still exist as an organization.

The only thing that will stop NDK from happening in 2021 is a decline in the pandemic situation so severe that State restrictions are re-instated (i.e. lockdown; extreme reductions in room capacity; etc.) that would prevent us from holding the event as contracted.  This is called Force Majeure, and until it can be invoked, releasing us from our contractual obligations, NDK must go forward.  Holding this event does not mean we are not concerned about the evolving Delta and Lambda Variant situation. We currently have no choice but to go forward.

We realize that not everyone will feel comfortable attending, nor do we expect everyone to. If you are concerned about attending, and believe us, we find this situation concerning too, DO NOT ATTEND.  Contact us if you have already purchased or rolled over a badge to 2021 and we can discuss your options.  Please give us a little time to assist, however, as the registration staff is quite busy at this time.

Q: Will NDK be requiring masks?

Yes. RMAA has enacted a Mask Requirement Policy.  Please read before attending NDK. If you no longer can, or wish to attend NDK due to this requirement, and have already purchased a badge, please contact Registration to discuss your rollover/transfer/refund options.

Q: Will NDK be requiring attendees to be vaccinated?

Not at this time. This is a very complex matter, so we want to be sure we address it well, and will add more to this answer soon.  We realize that not everyone will agree with this decision, regardless of our rationale, but it’s important to disclose how we came to it. As a whole, we strongly encourage and support vaccination. #vaccineswork. 

Q: Will NDK be able to operate at normal capacity?

This all depends on State regulations regarding indoor events, as well as the wishes of the Gaylord. The Gaylord has been working directly with the Governor’s office through the entirety of this pandemic, and we know that they are doing everything they can to create the safest environment possible. Currently, there are no State issued restrictions on capacity in place.

Keep in mind that the Gaylord Rockies is a HUGE amount of space, and there is more than twice the amount of room than the last hotel we were at. We are excited to have some breathing room, and we are hoping that will help keep everyone at a safer distance.

Q: I have a badge rolled over from 2020. Will I be getting an email confirmation for that?


A: Yes, an email confirmation will be sent to the email account that purchased your 2020 badge. In addition we will plan on having an email lookup on site that will send a copy of your purchased or donated 2020 badge as well before registration opens March 1st.

Q: What will it take for NDK to be canceled?

If there is a spike in COVID 19 cases, and the State Government puts a hold on all large events and activities, NDK and the Gaylord Rockies will agree with and abide by those restrictions.

COLORADO STATUS by County:

 

How Covid Spreads (Link)

Research shows that people who have no symptoms can spread COVID-19. Wearing a mask helps minimize the spread of the virus. Instructions for making homemade masks can be found at the Colorado Mask Project.

From: https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance