Masks highly recommended – WP Tavern
- WordCamp Vienna, Austria (April 23, 2022)
- WordCamp Irun (May 21-22, 2022)
- WordCamp Europe (June 2-4, 2022)
- WordCamp Warsaw, Poland (June 11-12, 2022)
- WordCamp Montclair, (June 25, 2022)
- WordCamp Netherlands (September 15-16, 2022)
The WordPress Community Team posted a updated set of COVID-19 guidelines today ahead of the five WordCamps taking place over the next few months. There are some notable changes from previous guidelines, which required organizers to select a venue with staff able to check temperatures and vaccination status and remind attendees to wear masks. This removed the burden of law enforcement on volunteers.
The updated guidelines require organizers to follow local guidelines, provide masks and hand sanitizer, and provide attendees with a sticker indicating whether they prefer others to wear a mask when conversing nearby.
The community team strongly recommended the following to participants:
- We always recommend that you wear a mask at in-person WordPress events.
- If you see someone wearing a sticker asking people to wear a mask near them, please wear a mask within 6 feet (2 meters) of them or keep your distance.
- A request to only show up in person if you are vaccinated or have recently tested negative.
- Please stay home if you are sick or have recently been in contact with someone who is sick.
Ten days before the updated guidelines were released, the community team asked for comment in a post that posed the question, “What’s stopping you from hosting or attending an event in person?“
WordCamp Birmingham organizer Ryan Marks has responded, saying his team is not allowed to hold in-person events (as per previous guidelines).
“My location doesn’t allow for checking vaccination status,” Marks said. “So we have to answer yes to all of the items on the in-person safety checklist. It has not yet been possible to answer yes to the first two questions. The checklist required that the region’s average positive case rate should average below 4% for 28 days and that fewer than 50 new cases be reported per 100,000 people for 14 days, among other requirements.
Marks and his team were forced to postpone WordCamp Birmingham in January after Omicron hit Alabama and local infections began to rise. The camp had already been criticized for its first masking policy, which stated that “masks are mandatory for entry and preferred throughout the event.” This sparked heated discussions on social media, where concerned community members condemned the gathering as “irresponsible”. The camp revised its masking guidelines to require masks indoors, but ultimately had to postpone due to local conditions.
The updated guidelines from the WordPress Community Team bear a striking similarity to WordCamp Birmingham’s original masking policy – if local authorities do not have requirements in place, masks are optional but recommended. He was well documented that indoor masking can significantly reduce transmission, so the community team must have witnessed a major change in pandemic conditions to change the guidelines to make them optional. With the exception of a handful of flagship events, WordPress ultimately decided to leave the requirements to local authorities.
“As the flagship events are larger and attract an international crowd, the organizers of WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US have been asked to consider them as minimum requirements and should have a more comprehensive plan in place,” said Angela Jin, organizer. from the WordPress community, in today’s announcement.
WordCamp Europe will require indoor masks and social distancing at the speakers’ dinner. They are creating self-service registration kiosks and trying to put more activities, like WP Cafe, outside.
WordCamp US will follow local San Diego guidelines in September.
“We will require all participants to be vaccinated or have recently tested negative,” Jin said. “Additionally, due to the size and nature of this event, masks will need to be worn over both the mouth and nose while indoors. Hand sanitizer and masks will also be available and some activities, such as lunch, will take place outdoors.