{Header image by Pete Linforth, used courtesy Pixabay, under a Creative Commons license.}

Note: this article was also published on Contents May Vary.

By now, you’ve received an email from every company you’ve ever given your email to on how they are dealing with COVID-19 (commonly known as the coronavirus). Additionally, events are being canceled left and right in order to flatten the curve and encourage social isolation to stop the spread.

But you might be wondering what you can do. Here are some suggestions.

First off, follow the advice of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and don’t panic! Stay informed and think rationally about the situation. Here’s The Guardian’s section of their coverage, and it’s a good bet that your local newspaper and NPR affiliate are keeping you apprised of local information in terms of closings and resources.

This is basically con season — and as such, many fan creators and fan-owned shops are going to be losing money as a result. If you can afford it, consider supporting them virtually. The Twitter hashtag #ECCCOnline is being used for artists who would have been at Emerald City Comic Con, while there’s also the hashtag #ArtistAlleyOnline. WonderCon is also doing a “WonderCon Online” to show support for the artists and vendors there. Many smaller shops are offering curbside pickup. Finally, Not Penny’s Cosplay has created “Cancellation Con 2020” on Facebook to create an online support event.

If an event hasn’t been canceled yet, it may not be up to the con. As Anthony Capobianco stated in this Facebook post, many events can’t cancel unless their city or state cancels it, otherwise they lose all deposits. This means a lot of the smaller cons, if not canceled by the hotel/venue or the government, may end up losing significant money. Consider carefully before asking for refunds from events regardless of whether it gets canceled. If they are a nonprofit or smaller event, this could mean the end of the organization or event.

If you are an artist or fan creator yourself, here’s an ongoing list of resources, opportunities, and financial relief options that is available. Additionally, StateraArts has compiled an Emergency Response Resource Directory with links to financial support, advocacy channels, and more. SoundGirls has created a list of resources for those in the audio / concert world.

And while there is the joke that geeks are anti-social by nature, we all know that’s a generalization. If you’re having issues with staying isolated and not knowing what to do, there are plenty of options out there. Here are some links:

This is, of course, nowhere near the extent of all the resources that are out there. While the Internet may be a horrible place at times, it also shows the best of humanity — and many people are coming forward with ways to help each other out during this time. I’ll try and share resources as I get them on my Facebook pages — both the one for Contents May Vary as well as my Geek Out Los Angeles one. In the meantime, stay geeky!

You can see more of Angie’s work and her social media connections over at her website.