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Summit 2021 – last call + updates

Games Industry Law Summit
Summit 2021 – last call + updates
By Sergei Klimov • Issue #70 • View online
Hello, friends –
We’re less than 10 weeks away from this year’s Summit, and we are now running the last call to lock down the attendee list. Please read the issue below for the recent updates, and the action points – and if you’re short on time, scroll all the way down to LAST CALL + CUT-OFF PROCESS.

Vaccination rate in Lithuania
The good news is that Lithuania is doing Okay on the vaccination, with 40% of the population getting 2 shots. Mostly Pfizer, and among the hotels and venues the vaccination rate is nearly 100%. The quarantine restrictions are lifted from July 1.
The not-so-good news is that the gap between the first and the second shots narrowed down to 5%, which is a sign of the slowing tempo – due to the summer and due to the perceived lowering of the risk (we’re reporting zero deaths some days this month, and never more than 40 daily cases per 3 million). We’ll see how this plays in the autumn.
Vaccination requirements to attend the Summit
We are in direct contact with our national health bureau, and the current requirements are that attendees vaccinated with the EU-approved shots are free to come and attend without any restrictions.
The approved vaccines are:
  1. Pfizer
  2. Moderna
  3. AZ
  4. J&J
The other vaccines are not recognised, which triggers a quarantine, a PCR-test requirement, and may generally lead – by the middle of September – to flat-out travel and event restrictions.
Based on this, we decided to limit the attendance of Summit 2021 to people with vaccination certificates for the 4 vaccines listed above. The last thing we want to have is to see a 14-day quarantine imposed on those arriving with Sputnik, or Sinovac, and if you followed the news recently, then you will know that travel regulations in this regard may completely change within 24 hours, with no advanced warning.
For the EU-approved vaccines, the current requirements are that 2 weeks should pass from the second shot for the certificate to be recognised as having no restrictions, additionally for those arriving from “green” zones this period is waived. If you have any questions, please email Alma.
And for 2022, we hope that more vaccines will be recognised (e.g. see the good news on Sputnik in this week’s Nature).
Use of masks at the Summit
Like many other events, for any in-door occasions at the Summit we require the use of face masks for everyone except the speakers.
It’s not a national requirement yet, but given news about Delta in Israel and in Los Angeles, we think this will be a mandatory requirement by September anyways (more on this below).
We will do our best to provide respirator-quality masks at the venue: we’re just getting started on this, and we’ll look for the best possible quality.
Delta, Epsilon, et cetera
We just had the time to familiarise ourselves with what “Delta” is, and it seems like “Epsilon” is soon to take over the headlines (if papers like this are correct in their analysis).
My own experience with trying to come to grips with this news is through my friends that work as doctors in the COVID hospital since February 2020, as well as through my personal experience: just this week, my colleague and friend at the studio has died of Delta (age: 44). He was the only person who remained unvaccinated in our team, he was based in Russia that goes through its highest-to-date pandemic wave, and he relied on having antibodies from the previous infection earlier in the year – which didn’t really help much, in the end.
This is what I see as posing, or increasing, the risks:
  • remaining unvaccinated
  • relying on immunity from previous infections
  • attending in-door events with poor ventilation
  • not using face masks in close contact
We’re addressing each of these issues by constructing a format that will remove all of these risk-factors for 2021. Our ambition is not to “have fun, then deal with consequences” – our goal is to welcome here as many people as we safely can, and provide the rare opportunity to interact and exchange experiences in a way that as safe as we can possibly deliver. I’m sorry if this means some temporary inconvenience.
All lunches and dinners to happen outdoors
Because of the timing (September is generally warm and sunny, historically at 22-27C), we’ve moved all lunches and dinners to the outdoor setting.
We just hired a team to construct a huge tent in the courtyard of Hotel PACAI to be sure we can do this no matter the wind, the rain or the occasional cold spell.
We think that spending most of the time in the outdoor environment goes a long way towards ensuring the safety of all the attendees, and provides a huge layer of protection against any possible breakthrough infections.
But wait, the sessions are now outdoors too!
It started as a “what if…” discussion: we were wondering, if there’s any additional ways to ensure everyone’s safety during the September event.
  • every attendee is already vaccinated
  • we’ll provide face masks for all in-door occasions
  • the lunches and the dinners will happen in fresh air
The only risk that remained, was the actual sessions: and so we went to the Palace one more time, to look at the hall. Sure, it’s big enough. And the ventilation is very powerful. But having no walls would provide an even better flow of air, right?
And so we went back to Hotel PACAI, which has a fantastic private courtyard, and drew a plan to build a tent that would provide the roof for 100 of the Summit’s tables installed right there.
PACAI's courtyard can sit 220 people, we aim for 200
PACAI's courtyard can sit 220 people, we aim for 200
  • fresh air at all times!
  • no need for the mask as it’s outdoors!
  • coffee, water served by PACAI’s team right during the sessions, like an in-flight service
  • people in the back rows can smoke while listening to the panels, for that “back to 1950s” feel (I hope not!!)
This is what is going to happen, then: we’re hiring the tents, and the stage, and we’re completely taking over the venue for the Summit. With all the rooms already booked by the attendees, it will provide a one-stop location to have a conversation, to eat lunch, and to participate in the discussion – using the warm season to our advantage.
Hotel situation
Hotel PACAI: not too shabby
Hotel PACAI: not too shabby
As of today, PACAI is completed booked out with the exception of the Junior Suites (which, if you ask me, are an excellent value).
Shakespeare is completely out, the rest you can see from the map below. The orange dot represents PACAI where all the events will happen.
There is a new hotel that we recently added, with the special rates: Astorja (operated by Radisson Blu). It’s very close to PACAI, it’s been just renovated, and they have a new general manager who comes highly recommended – so we feel like we can rely on its team providing an excellent service.
The updated rate card is below, to book or change please talk to Alma as these are not public rates:
The last call, and the cut-off process
We see this week as the last call for attendees, and from the coming week we begin the cut-off process to arrive to the list of attendees are are definitely coming.
At this time, we have 260 people who have confirmed the participation in September 2021, but some of these haven’t provided all the required details. At the same time, we have additionally 50 people on the wait list, whom we do not invoice because we first need to confirm their spaces.
Based on the desire to have a safe event:
In 2021 we limit the Summit to 200 people.
This is how many we can seat at the venue with enough private space to remain mask-free, and this is how many we can serve at lunches, and both formal and informal dinners, with the desired quality of service.
“CONFIRMED ATTENDEES”:
  1. You have provided Alma with the type and dates of your vaccination, and the vaccine is on the EU-approved list.
  2. You have booked a hotel and we have the details (with or without our help, we must know that you have a place to stay).
  3. You have paid the invoice issued in 2021 (or had the 2019/2020 payment re-assigned to 2021).
If you’ve got a hotel and have paid the invoice, but haven’t responded to us about the vaccination, next week we’ll be emailing you one more time, and then taking you off the confirmed list.
WAIT LIST”:
  1. You might have paid and/or booked, but you haven’t been in touch with us about the vaccination.
  2. You’ve provided the vaccination data and we made a preliminary booking for the hotel, but we haven’t issued you the invoice because we’re waiting for the space to come clear.
During the coming week, we will be moving people into Confirmed and Wait List groups, and the moment Confirmed is below 200, we will be inviting those on the wait list in the order of time of request made.
If you think there is a sizeable chance that you won’t attend, we encourage you to let us know ASAP and instead plan to come in 2022.
This year, we expect to have a smaller, quieter event focused mostly on peer interactions and group discussions, and catching up. To ensure safety, it will be a bit slower, and more spread out: there’s already a few groups who land a couple of days earlier, who are going out for dinners together, and we think this is what the Summit 2021 will be about: getting to know fewer people, but getting to know them better.
On refunds:
We’ll immediately process any refund requests made before the end of the coming week. We can also re-assign payments to 2022.
Refund requests made by attendees from the Confirmed list *after* July 15 will be processed *after* the event, based on whether we were able to confirm someone else in your place.
There is no restriction on refund requests from the Wait List.
Telepresentations
This month we work on the agenda, and I wanted to give you all a heads-up on whether it will be limited to in-person presentations only: no, it will not.
We currently work to arrange the link, and the screen hardware, that will enable some of your best friends from the distant regions, who cannot attend this year, to provide updates on their countries from the safety of their living rooms.
Finally, the most important news:
September in Lithuania is the peak of the produce season: from berries to vegetables to fruits to mushrooms, and from wild game to wild fish, the chef’s team at PACAI is ecstatic about their ability to delight and surprise you!
On top of this, with the event happening in the courtyard, the opportunities for open cooking stations and grilled-to-order plates are simply unbelievable, as well as the chance to serve chilled and hot drinks during the whole event, without any distractions – we hope to set a new standard with the quality of service!
Last week, we paid the team a visit, and recorded these short greetings (if you attended before, you will recognise both Vytautas and Simonas):
A few words about Summit 2021 from Vytautas Alekna
A few words about Summit 2021 from Vytautas Alekna
A few words about Summit 2021 from Nikita Vornik
A few words about Summit 2021 from Nikita Vornik
A few words about Summit 2021 from Simonas Gudelis
A few words about Summit 2021 from Simonas Gudelis
Stay safe – and see you in 10 weeks!
If you are able to attend the event in September, we look forward to seeing you, and making your visit both safe and enjoyable.
If you cannot, then we totally understand, and will work to make the Summit of 2022 even better.
This year, and the year before, have been pretty wild. With everything opening, closing, moving, changing, and with the close people we know going through difficult situations, there’s a high degree of unpredictability and a lower-than-usual degree of control.
But we’re positive that (most of us) are currently in a better place than at the start of the pandemic, and we’re confident that sooner or later, we’ll be able to expand the “safe zone” that we all exist in right now.
Stay safe, and catch up later!
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Sergei Klimov

A newsletter about games industry's legal side, written for the benefit and entertainment of the folks attending (or considering to attend) the annual Games Industry Law Summit in Vilnius.

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