Safety concerns paramount
The current UK guidelines confirm that COVID-19 related restrictions will be lifting on 19th July. Masks will no longer be compulsory, there will be fewer circumstances where isolation is required, and mass gathering events are able to take place without amendment. UK Games Expo has updated its guidelines and #PlayWithConfidence promise to reflect this, meaning negative tests are not required as evidence in order to attend, face masks are non mandatory, and ultimately it will "not enforce any requirements that are not legally required as we do not believe that will be practical on the day".
It's unclear if it is as a direct result of this announcement that additional safety requirements will not be in place, or as a result of concerns over the Delta Variant (which caused the cancellation of the Hammerhead Show in Newark that would have been on the same weekend), but we're seeing publishers and attendees choosing not to attend as a result of safety concerns. This includes Bright Eye Games, Hub Games, PSC Games and more.
After much thought and discussion, we have made the difficult decision to not attend UK Games Expo this year due to the current circumstances surrounding Covid. We hope everyone has a great time and we can’t wait to see you all in 2022! pic.twitter.com/ZBVVWrX8Ik— PSC Games (@PSCGamesUK) July 8, 2021
Unfortunately we will no longer be attending UK Games Expo this year, we will miss you all but see you next year! It's not been an easy or cheap decision, but *gestures at 2021 in general* pic.twitter.com/wDyJEA3ZSe— Bad Squiddo Games - Annie (@BadSquiddoGames) July 8, 2021
Sorry to report that we will not be attending UK Games Expo this year. Safety is paramount.— Hub Games! (@WeAreHubGames) July 8, 2021
Whilst these are certainly not alone, with many choosing not to attend before this announcement – such as sponsors of the event Wayland Games, and Big Potato games amongst others, the list of attending exhibitors can be found on their site by clicking here,
UK Games Expo is the biggest hobby games convention within the UK, and this year marks its 15th year, taking place in the NEC in Birmingham, from 30th July – 1st August. It will be the first large scale game convention plausible to attend since the pandemic enforced various forms of lockdown over the last year. Changes to guidelines can be found in full here.