TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Comic Convention is back, after taking a year off because of COVID-19.
“We’ve been big fans of anime for a really long time so it means a lot to get to come back out. It’s really fun to get to come back to our first show,” said attendee Alyssa Hartford.
Guests had fun dressing up and fellowshipping, but it’s the shopping that brings vendors excitement.
Vendor Samantha King told 8 On Your Side that not having these big conventions crushed her business.
“At one point, I had five jobs and it was moving around in circles. Trying to get this one and that one. Then we’d have a show here and there.”
King’s pumped up to be back in action, but she still has concerns surrounding the virus, which is why she chose to mask up.
“That’s what’s important for us to protect other people while we’re out here. No matter what your belief is, if this is going to help a little bit, I’m going to put it on,” said King.
While many celebrate the returns of these types of events, health experts say this is not the best time for them. “Most of us think in public health and medicine, for now, it’s not worth taking the risk,” said Dr. Jay Wolfson with USF Health.
As the delta variant continues to run rampant across Florida, Dr. Wolfson said it’s time to go back to square one, putting those COVID-19 safety precautions in place.
“Stick it out for a few more months and avoid the crowds. Wear your masks and socially distance. Let’s get through this thing together.”
Organizers with the Tampa Bay Comic Convention said they’re conducting temperature checks at the entrance of the convention. They’re also encouraging everyone to follow the CDC guidelines in place.