From the beginning of this pandemic, one of the driving forces behind my decisions to postpone Macstock twice from July 2020 to, what I hope will be, July 2022, is your safety and the safety of the Macstock community. After all, Macstock’s heartbeat — the very thing that brings us back year after year — is the community. And if I can’t keep that community safe to the best of my abilities, then what’s the point?
So when I announced the VIP Passes for Virtual Macstock this year, I did so with the confidence that everyone who wanted to attend could do so with the assurance that I was doing everything I could to protect you and the ones you love from COVID-19 and its potentially devastating effects. And those efforts included capacity limits, mask requirements for the unvaccinated, and then, later, further capacity limits combined with a mask requirement for everyone.
Unfortunately, since announcing Virtual Macstock’s VIP Pass, the positive direction that we’d been headed combating COVID-19, not just within the United States, but around the world, has taken a decidedly downward turn due to newer and more deadly variants of COVID-19 such as the Delta variant that is currently infecting a large segment of the population.
In fact, as of last Friday, McHenry County, Illinois — where Macstock is located — was upgraded to a Highly Transmissible county by the CDC giving us the dubious honor of joining so many other areas of the country that are also branded with a big, red, blotch on the ever expanding map of COVID-19 that was, only a few months ago, looking much better.
So with that in mind, to meet insurance recommendations, and in order to provide the maximum amount of safety and comfort to our in-person guests at Virtual Macstock, effective today, I’m implementing the following NEW COVID-19 PROTOCOLS for ALL Virtual Macstock VIP Pass attendees:
- In addition to the reduced capacity of 40 paid VIP Passes that I implemented on August 8th, effective August 16th, 2021, EVERYONE 12 AND OLDER WHO ATTENDS VIRTUAL MACSTOCK 2021 IN PERSON — and that includes all VIP Passholders, Volunteers, and Speakers — MUST PROVIDE PROOF OF VACCINATION AGAINST COVID-19 at the registration desk to be admitted. Those who cannot provide acceptable proof of vaccination will be turned away.
Second, while masks are not currently mandated by the State of Illinois or the City of Woodstock, face masks are highly recommended by the CDC for everyone while in public places and indoors. Therefore, Macstock will also strongly encourage the use of face coverings for all in attendance. However, with everyone in attendance vaccinated, face masks will not be required unless required/mandated by state or local governments at some point prior to September 25th, 2021.
UPDATE! As promised, the rules have changed AGAIN. Effective Monday, August 30th, the State of Illinois is reinstituting a statewide indoor mask mandate requiring facial coverings within indoor settings like Virtual Macstock, regardless of vaccination status. So please be sure to come with your own mask that can be worn comfortably over your mouth and nose during the entire time you’re inside the Stage Left Café attending Virtual Macstock.
- Finally, because I understand this is the third time I’ve changed the rules on you since announcing the VIP Pass, effective August 16th, I am eliminating the $10 processing fee from refunds as well as extending the window to receive a full refund on your VIP Pass to September 18th. This means, regardless of the circumstances that might require you to ask for a refund, you will have up to one week prior to Virtual Macstock to decide if you’re unable to attend for any reason and/or meet the requirements of providing proof of vaccination.
There’s a limit to what I can do to protect the Macstock Community. While keeping you safe is my priority, I can’t protect the Macstock Community alone. I need your help and I thank everyone for your patience, understanding, and willingness to respectfully comply with our policies for the safety of all attending.
A Look Toward Macstock’s Future
As an event that thrives on social interaction and community building, Macstock will not survive on virtual alone.
So if Macstock is to enjoy another 5 wonderful years, we need to get back to a place where not only can we host Macstock without the specter of COVID hanging over our heads, but we can do so in a way that encourages the participation, fellowship, and community that we’ve come to love about Macstock.
To get to that point for Macstock 2022 next July, I believe that, for the moment, we’ll need to look at the current state of Virtual Macstock’s VIP Pass and its COVID Protocols as the model for Macstock 2022…at least until we can finally put this pandemic behind us.
Thank you everyone for your support.