Seattle, Miami Convention Centers Are Back in Business With Limited Capacity

September 24, 2020

Meetings in Seattle are about to be back in business. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has modified the state’s Phase 2 and Phase 3 restrictions around business meetings, professional development training and testing, and similar activities, effective Sept. 21. According to the new guidance, the Governor’s Safe Start reopening plan will permit meetings and business events to be held at an indoor capacity of 30 percent or 200 guests, whichever is less (excluding venue staff).

Adherence to strict COVID-19 protocols must be followed, including implementation of social distancing requirements for staff, attendees and onsite vendors or contractors, and all attendees will be required to wear masks within each facility. Venues must also achieve the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation or follow compliance with a comparable program.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to welcome back small groups to the building during Phase 2,” said Jeff Blosser, Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) president and CEO. “The convention center has bolstered its already stringent cleaning protocol to provide an even safer, but still comfortable, environment for event-goers. We look forward to collaborating with clients to mitigate known risk factors for in-person events so they and their attendees can focus on program content.”

Visit Seattle also recently launched the "All Clear King County" Safety Pledge, an initiative to encourage strict safety protocols and a means to promote those businesses implementing them. This comes in advance of an extensive marketing campaign made possible by the King County Council’s allocation of $8 million in CARES funding for tourism recovery. The campaign will launch Oct. 1.

“We are grateful to Governor Inslee and state officials for recognizing the critical role of meetings and business events during this time,” said Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle president and CEO. “This is a positive step forward and we hope it will illuminate the ability to safely host larger meetings and business events as we move forward through the phases.”

In other positive news for the events industry, per Miami-Dade County order, select facilities — including convention centers — are permitted to open at 50 percent capacity with health and safety restrictions in place, effective Sept. 18. Other venues such as auditoriums and concert facilities also fall under this new order.

All venues must strictly follow rules set in the County’s New Normal Guidebook. This amendment allows for indoor consumption of food and beverages within movie theaters, concert houses, convention spaces, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, casinos, and indoor amusement facilities, but only in designated areas. This amendment also allows for live performances, provided performers are no less than 10 feet from patrons at all times and such patrons observe such performances from tables or stationary seats.

Miami Beach Convention Center has deployed health and safety measures to support a safe return to live events and gatherings at the venue, which recently completed a $620-million renovation.

“The health, safety, security and wellbeing of all who enter our venue has always been our top priority,” said MBCC General Manager Freddie Peterson. “The health measures at the MBCC will not only reduce the risks of transmission during this current pandemic but will support a healthier building long into the future. It is a long-term investment for a short-term crisis, reassuring our staff, vendors, guests, clients and planners, and restoring confidence in our venue and all that we do.”

MBCC was also recently awarded the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation. The venue’s 1.4 million square feet of flexible event space also provide ample room to achieve social distancing at events, while also leveraging 9 acres of surrounding public green space for outdoor activities. Miami Beach Condo & HOA Expo is scheduled to take place at MBCC on Oct. 8.

Find Meetings Mean Business’ comprehensive tracker on state-by-state protocols for in-person gatherings HERE

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust,  adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters,  it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing tradeshows and expositions.   At Mohegan Sun we have built an industry-leading COVID-19 Resource Center,  with a combination of pictures from recent successful events held since our reopening on June 1st,  along with several easy to share,  downloadable documents such as our Operati