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Comic-Con plans for smaller-scale virtual 2021 gathering citing COVID-19, financial strain

Organizers of the annual San Diego Comic-Con announced on Monday that its 2021 convention will be held virtually amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The event confirmed in a Monday statement that it will be virtual for the second year from July 23-25. 

"Never could we have imagined what the world experienced in 2020 and continues to experience today. While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person event of the magnitude of Comic-Con," the convention shared in the Monday statement. 

Organizers noted that the convention, which typically takes place over four days, will instead take place over three days this year because delays and canceled in-person events during the pandemic have left them with "limited financial resources." 

But organizers vowed that a smaller, in-person event is being planned for November. Organizers did not immediately release the dates of the event or other specifics.

Comic-Con attracts more than 135,000 people to San Diego each year, according to The Associated Press. The outlet noted that the event provides a financial boost to the California city's restaurants and hotels, generating an estimated $147 million for the local economy annually.

The convention is the largest fan convention in North America, according to Variety. Organizers canceled the San Diego Comic-Con for the first time in 50 years last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

California has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks along with states across the country. But the state reported 3,495 cases on Sunday, in addition to 234 fatalities, according to a dashboard from The New York Times.