COVID Guidance – updated 11/10/2023:
- Farpoint Convention will be following all federal, state, local and venue rules/guidelines regarding COVID. We will be keeping our 2022 plans in place for increased sanitation and space planning to maximize social distancing. Farpoint encourages all attendees, guests, vendors/dealers, and staff who are eligible to receive a COVID vaccination to please do so, as the vaccines have proven safe and effective in preventing the transmission of the virus and lowering the severity of your illness if you are unfortunately infected. While COVID-19 exposure is a risk in any public place, we are dedicated to protecting our attendees as much as possible by implementing CDC, Maryland, and Baltimore County event guidelines. We encourage you to clean your hands/face as necessary after interaction with others, either with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- We do not plan to require face masks or vaccination cards but encourage all convention attendees to take the precautions they feel necessary to be comfortable. Hand sanitizer and KN95 masks will be available upon request on the convention floor for attendees.
- Seating in panel rooms will be managed for maximum social distancing. If a room does not have an available seat, you are requested to wait until one comes available.
- Guests will be making their own decisions on whether to remove masks for photos and the level of contact they are comfortable with. They will have the option of using a plexiglass shield on the table, and they may choose to remove their mask while behind the shield and stationary at their table. Please be respectful of each Guest’s decision in these matters.
- The hotel has installed hand sanitizer dispensers in the public areas and plans to actively monitor the cleanliness of restrooms during our event. Please be aware, however, that supply chain disruptions have interfered with the availability of supplies for public restrooms and the hotel is being diligent in efforts to compensate. Attendees are requested to inform convention operations of any dispensers or restrooms that require maintenance.
- This guidance is published with the intention to allow the public to make an informed decision on whether to attend Farpoint Convention. Anyone choosing to participate after publication of this guidance is thus assumed to release Farpoint Convention and Farpoint Foundation from any liability if they test positive for COVID after attending the event.
- Farpoint is a public event and will take place regardless of weather or travel conditions. Convention membership tickets are non-refundable. Attendees may re-sell or gift tickets privately, with notice to Farpoint of the registration name change.
- Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis in all programming rooms. There is disabled Attendee and VIP (Guests and Staff) seating sections available in the ballroom. Please observe all reserved signs for these seats.
- Purchase of a convention membership ticket does not guarantee a Guest’s autograph. Attendees are responsible for attending the scheduled autograph session(s) to secure a Guest’s autograph.
- You must wear your Farpoint badge to gain admittance to all convention areas. Badges are non-transferable. Lost badges will be replaced for a $20.00 fee with proper photo identification.
- Causing a disruption in any part of the hotel (rooms or convention areas) is grounds for expulsion without a refund from the convention. Farpoint and the DoubleTree Hotel has sole discretion in determining the severity of the disruption.
- All smoking is prohibited in the hotel (tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping). Attendees should use designated smoking areas on the lobby level outside the hotel, which comply with Maryland requirements that smoking areas be 15 feet away from building entrances/exits.
- Farpoint does not tolerate harassment of Attendees, Staff, Vendors/Dealers or Guests by any other Attendee, Staff, Vendor/Dealer or Guest. This includes, but is not limited to:
c. Offensive Verbal Comments
d. Physical Harassment and/or Unwelcome Physical Touching or Attention
e. Symbols or Statements of hate toward, but not limited to, a person’s Race, Color, National Origin, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Age, Body Size, Disability, Appearance or Religion
- The above harassing actions, symbols and/or statements are also not permitted as part of a presentation, panel, exhibit, show or cosplay. Farpoint in its sole discretion will determine if a harassing action or statement has occurred or symbol has been used. Farpoint Staff will take prompt action in any form deemed appropriate toward anyone found in violation of this policy, which can range from asking an Attendee, Staff or Guest to leave the convention floor for a specified time up to expulsion from Farpoint Convention with no refund or a lifetime ban from the convention or calling for police assistance.
- Any Attendee, Staff, Vendor/Dealer or Guest experiencing an uncomfortable or unsafe situation is asked to bring the matter to the nearest Farpoint Staff member, identified by their convention badge. They will be escorted to the convention operations office to make an official report. Attendees, Staff, Vendors/Dealers and Guests may also go directly to the convention operations office, located in the Boardroom on the second floor, as circumstances dictate. After making a report, Farpoint Staff will contact local law enforcement or medical assistance, provide an escort, offer a safe place and/or otherwise assist the Attendee, Staff, Vendor/Dealer or Guest to feel safe for the remainder of the convention.
- Overtly sexual imagery and language is not appropriate except during events or panels specified as covering adult topics that are open only to Attendees over 18 years of age. Attendees violating these rules may be expelled from Farpoint without a refund at the discretion of the co-chairs and/or committee.
- Convention Attendees are expected to follow Maryland’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse laws. The drinking age in Maryland is 21. Violation of these laws will result in immediate expulsion from the convention. The DoubleTree Hotel requires all alcohol consumed in the bar, restaurant or convention space be served by hotel employees. Outside purchase alcohol must be consumed in the privacy of the Attendee’s room.
- Parents are responsible for the behavior of their minor children. If a child is seen behaving in a disruptive manner or in a way that might cause harm to themselves or others, Farpoint reserves the right to ask that the parent accompany the child when in convention areas.
- Attendees should be aware that convention activities are often videotaped or photographed by other Attendees and the press. The photographer should ask for your permission prior to taping or photographing you at the convention. Attendees should be aware that they may appear in the background of someone else’s video or photo and are responsible for notifying that photographer if they do not wish to be included in the image.
- Celebrity Guests’ contracts may prohibit videotaping of their stage appearance. An announcement will be made from the stage prior to the celebrity’s appearance. Videotaping of other programming events is subject to the approval of the convention and person(s) on stage.
- Video and still cameras may not be used to capture images in the Art Show or Dealers Rooms.
- Requesting a Guest’s personal information is considered a privacy violation and is grounds for expulsion from the convention. Examples include an Attendee asking a Guest for their hotel room number, travel itinerary or other contact information that the Guest considers private.
- On-stage presentations of gifts or awards to or by any Attendee or Guest must be pre-approved by the Farpoint Convention chairs. Making a presentation without this approval is grounds for expulsion from the convention.
- No gunplay or swordplay is allowed at any time unless it is taking place at a demonstration event scheduled by the convention. All weapons must remain holstered or sheathed. Staff members may ask to inspect your weapon to verify it is a prop. When this happens, your weapon will be marked with a removable marker, such as a zip tie, to identify that the inspection has occurred. Items considered weapons include but are not limited to: paint ball or splatter guns; prop, blank or cap guns; laser tag guns; swords, lightsabers and similar articles with edges, blades and/or projectile capability. Laser target designators or laser pointers are not allowed in the convention areas (except as used by Guest speakers during a presentation) as they can cause injury if not used properly.
Service Animals and Pets:
- The DoubleTree Hotel allows pets in the sleeping rooms per their policy found. This policy limits Hotel Guests to 1 pet per room (pet maximum weight 50 pounds) with a non-refundable $75 fee per stay. The animal must not be left unsupervised in the sleeping room or the convention levels and must be on a leash when not in the sleeping room.
- Animals are not allowed on the convention levels except for Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) service animals. Service animals must be leashed and always wear proper identifying tag, collar or vest on the convention floor. The ADA allows for trained service animals to accompany their matched partner in a place of business. Per the ADA, service animals are:
a. Individually trained animals matched with a specific disabled person to perform assistance tasks for that person; and
b. Working animals, not pets.
- The following animals are not considered service animals per the ADA and are not allowed on the convention floor:
a. Household pets; and
b. Animals used for emotional support or easing anxiety.
- In contrast with the Federal ADA laws, Maryland has modified the state ADA laws to allow service animals in training similar access to public spaces that is provided to fully-trained service animals. However, both the Federal and Maryland ADA laws allow public events and spaces to ask for a service animal or service animal in training to be removed if said animal is not behaving in accordance with their training.
- All service animals and service animals in training on the convention floor are expected and required by law to behave in accordance with their training. Farpoint and the DoubleTree Hotel will request the animal be removed if an animal becomes disruptive to the proceedings, to include (but not limited to) the following:
a. Barking, growling, biting or snapping at Attendees, Staff, Vendors/Dealers, Guests or other Service Animals.
b. Jumping on or knocking over Attendees, Staff, Vendors/Dealers, Guests or other Service Animals.
c. Knocking over, chewing on or otherwise damaging hotel or convention floors, furniture, equipment, displays and signage belonging to the Hotel, Farpoint Convention, Guests, Vendors/Dealers, Exhibitors or other Attendees.
d. Urinating or defecating on hotel or convention floors, furniture, equipment, displays and signage belonging to the Hotel, Farpoint Convention, Guests, Vendors/Dealers, Exhibitors or other Attendees.
e. Running loose on the convention floor and otherwise not staying with their matched partner while attending the convention.
- Federal and Maryland ADA laws do not apply to Search and Rescue (SAR) animals in training. A SAR animal is trained in public at either organized training events or only after permission is granted by the owners of the public premises for the training to take place. The DoubleTree hotel will not grant such permission unless the public event is a SAR training event or demonstration, which Farpoint Convention is not.
- The reserved seating area for disabled Attendees in the Preakness Ballroom for main programming will include seats with enough floor space for an Attendee to keep their service animal safely next to them and out of the way of foot traffic. Attendees with service animals who do not utilize this reserved seating may be asked to re-locate to this specific area and/or leave the ballroom if the Attendee places their animal in a way that blocks foot traffic or causes a tripping hazard for Staff, Guests and Attendees.
- Anyone experiencing an issue with an animal in the convention areas is asked to go to the Con Operations office in the Boardroom on the second floor of the hotel, or the Registration Desk or Information Desk in the hotel lobby and ask for a convention chair to be contacted.