Like many, we have been closely monitoring the news about COVID-19 / novel coronavirus and the impact it is having on the wider world as well as the games sector and various international events.
We care deeply about the health and wellbeing of all, including citizens in London, the global games industry, the Games London community and beyond.
London Games Festival will continue to take place from 26 April to 6 April incorporating a number of our core events, plus key partners’ activities. Our funders and sponsors remain committed to LGF taking place.
Naturally, we all expect some regions to sit out this year’s festivities due to their nation’s health policies or travel restrictions.
We are regularly consulting guidelines from the World Health Organisation, NHS and GOV UK/Public Health England to ensure that we are correctly responding to the matter.
We are also reassured with the precautions that various China and UK authorities have in place to contain the spread of the virus. In the UK, where cases of novel coronavirus are currently some of the lowest reported, the risk to individuals is considered low.
Specifically the National Health Service only recommends that people stay away from public spaces if they…
- have been to Wuhan in the last 14 days,
- have been to parts of mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and have possible symptoms of coronavirus, or – in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
- have been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus
For events run by Games London (including but not limited to LGF HUB and its sub events, Games Finance Market, Trafalgar Square Games Festival and WIN) we will have extra health and safety measures in place to ensure attendees feel comfortable.
These include increased cleaning of public areas and more regular wipedowns of common touch and public areas, additional hand sanitiser and wipes available to delegates, amongst other cleanliness steps. We are also instructing anyone with game controllers and VR headsets to regularly clean these devices during exhibition.
We are in contact with partner events to ensure they follow the same standards and have comparable measures in place and expect all Fringe event organisers to do the same.
If you are concerned you are exhibiting symptoms it is recommended you self isolate and stay in your home or hotel room and seek medical advice. More information here – while in the UK you can call 111.
We also recommend that delegates follow the standard guidelines from the NHS about hand cleanliness measures to prevent illnesses. (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/)
Those employers and businesses seeking further guidance can also do so here with officially published notes from Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19
There are also other things you can do if you are concerned and want to limit potential to exposure while in a conference environment. We’ve seen other events recommend not shaking hands at meetings – some even suggest offering a fistbump instead. More sensibly, we think attendees should feel comfortable saying they do not wish to engage in physical contact for greetings or salutations. In a neurodiverse industry like video games, this isn’t uncommon – your wishes should be respected by fellow attendees. Since the start of London Games Festival in 2016 we have had in place a regularly updated event safety policy you can also refer to: https://games.london/event-safety-statement-and-code-of-conduct/
Speak to Games London representatives at your event if you have any further questions.
Posted on February 25 2020 – this document will be updated as required.