Two of the biggest pop culture events in North America have been officially cancelled due to COVID-19. San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCC) and Anime Expo (AX) — both held in the US state of California, which has announced more stringent measures to combat the spread of the disease, will be skipping 2020 and hope to return in 2021 instead.

See below for an excerpt of the SDCC announcement:

For the first time in its 50-year history San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), the organizers behind the annual pop-culture celebration, announced today with deep regret that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020. The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.

Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.

See below for an excerpt of the AX announcement:

This is a day my team and I hoped wouldn’t come, but it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing the cancellation of Anime Expo 2020. Our utmost concern is for the health and safety of our amazing Anime Expo community. We understand your disappointment as we are anime fans first and foremost too. As you can imagine, this was one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make in the 29 years of Anime Expo.

With the COVID-19 situation continually changing, as well as more restrictions in place worldwide and in our host city Los Angeles, we can’t in good faith move forward with this year’s event. We know it will affect all of you differently and we did not come to this decision lightly.

Both events have reassured attendees they have the option to receive a full refund or to have their 2020 badges rolled over to the 2021 event.

Founded in 1970 as Golden State Comic Book Convention, San Diego Comic-Con International originally showcased comic books and sci-fi/fantasy contents and has since expanded to a wider variety of genres. The event holds several Guinness World Records, including the largest annual comic and pop culture festival in the world.

Anime Expo is the largest North American anime convention, founded in 1992 by the non-profit Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA). Before settling in its current home at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in the past Anime Expo has been held in other locations such as Anaheim, San Jose, New York, and Tokyo.