Emerald City Comic Con has been postponed.
Organizers announced the decision to move the four-day celebration of pop culture to this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak in Seattle. The event was originally scheduled for March 12-15 at Washington State Convention Center. The event draws around 100,000 people annually.
The company made the announcement in a statement on its website Friday morning.
“We have been closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 virus in Seattle, and, after many hours of conversation internally and consultation with local government officials and the tourism bureau, we have decided to move next week’s Emerald City Comic Con to Summer 2020 with date and detail announcement forthcoming,” the statement said. “We did everything that we could to run the event as planned, but ultimately, we are following the guidance of the local public health officials indicating that conventions should now be postponed.”
Ticket buyers do not have to do anything to receive their refund; it should arrive sometime in the next 30 days, due to the volume of tickets being refunded, according to the statement. A spokeswoman said Artist Alley participants also will receive refunds and will be allowed to reserve their spaces at the postponed event.
Reedpop, the company that owns ECCC, had earlier this week said it intended to go on with the convention, causing concern among some exhibitors and fans scheduled to attend the March 12-15 event at Washington State Convention Center. Later in the week, it offered fans and artists refunds for those who choose not to attend. At least 85 scheduled guests and celebrities had already pulled out by Thursday and more than 10,000 fans had taken advantage of the refund offer.
Company officials were not immediately available for comment.
ECCC is one of the biggest events of its kind in the U.S. About 98,000 people attended last year and about 1,000 exhibitors had reserved space for the 2020 edition.
Earlier this week, fans and creators had debated whether to attend the con in the days leading up to the postponement. Some thought it was irresponsible to hold the event because of the potential to spread the disease around the country, while others took a more sanguine wait-and-see approach. Many wrote on social media that their livelihoods would be impacted by a cancelation or postponement, while others wondered if it was worth attending a diminished event.
Reedpop acknowledged the heavy impact the decision would likely have on the hundreds of participants — from artists to security guards — who depend on the annual event as part of their financial plan.
“We know that this decision is going to greatly impact many of our individual creators, small businesses and service workers,” Friday’s statement read. “To those whose careers depend on ECCC – we will do everything that we can over the coming days and weeks to highlight your work and we ask that our entire community support you as we realize your personal livelihoods may be impacted.”