Our coalition asserts our commitment to the health and safety of our employees, partners, clients, exhibitors, and guests as its top priority. It also recognizes the importance of returning to in-person events as vital for our industry partners, necessary for some segments of business like education and testing, and as critical drivers for economic recovery for our respective regions. Our venue teams have enacted modifications to exceed reopening guidelines and comply with all local public health authority regulations. Not only will you feel confident about booking your next event, but your guests will also feel comfortable attending.
Here is what you can expect from convention centers in Washington:
Many have applied for or been certified by Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) Star Accreditation.
HVAC upgrades to improve indoor air quality.
Electrostatic sprayers to thoroughly disinfect between meetings.
Frequent cleaning and sanitation of high touch and high traffic areas during events.
Hand sanitizer available at locations throughout all venues.
Customized floor plans to meet current and anticipated future capacity guidelines.
Flexible booking policies to allow peace of mind when selecting dates.
Physical distancing protocols are established through custom floor plans designed with your event manager and reinforced by well-trained staff, pre-event communication support, and strategic signage.
Staggered event times and/or entrances will be utilized if there are multiple events in a facility.
Protocols in place require all staff and guests to wear facial coverings.
Consistent signage in both front and back of house.
Provision of images, video, and graphics that can be integrated with your marketing to let guests and vendors know what to expect from venues and what is expected of them.
Use of each venue’s assets (and our collective reach) like social media, email databases, public relations, marquees, and other methods to reassure and inform guests.
Plans in place for contact tracing with individual local health departments.
Staff have been trained on COVID safety, positive reinforcement, and leading by example.
Staff will be subject to wellness checks prior to entering the workplace through one designated entrance at each facility.
Pre-packaged individual service items.
Suspension of self-serve buffets.
Adapted touchless water and coffee stations.
Greater Tacoma Convention Center
Lynnwood Convention Center
Spokane Convention Center
Three Rivers Convention Center
Washington State Convention Center
Wenatchee Convention Center
Yakima Valley Tourism
Yakima Convention Center
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the 200-person capacity limit per event, per building or per room?
The guidance allows for 200 people to gather for a business meeting, training, or testing per room. Some venues are limiting to capacity to 200 people per floor or area of their building to ensure that any group of 200 has a dedicated path of travel. Event start, end, and break times may need to be staggered to reduce contact.
Can I have exhibits as an element of my meeting?
A booth or tabletop exhibit fosters “networking” which is restricted. At this time, tradeshows and exhibits (including tabletop) are limited to outdoors only and are only permissible in counties in Phase 3 of the Safe Start Washington Plan. Be sure to check on the phase associated with your meeting location to see if this is allowable.
Can I have food service at my meeting?
Absolutely! Food service is allowed at your meeting. Venue catering staff will work with you to design a menu that can be a self-contained, pre-plated, or ‘grab and go’ style meal that minimizes contact between catering staff and guests. Most venues have revised their menus in response to the pandemic, so start by asking to see a menu of grab and go or pre-plated options. Meal seating will be designed to keep six feet of distance between guests while they are eating. A meal cannot be held reception-style with guests mingling.
What cleaning and sanitation standards should I expect from my host venue?
Many convention centers in Washington have earned or are applying for the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ Facility accreditation. The accreditation is awarded by GBAC, a subdivision of ISSA, the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide. The accreditation is provided to facilities who demonstrate a well-established and maintained cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program with well-trained professionals and clear documentation of cleaning processes. To achieve the accreditation, facilities must demonstrate compliance with the 20 elements of the program, including risk assessment, standard operating procedures, proper cleaning and disinfection chemicals, and personal protective equipment.
Furthermore, all the venues in Washington must ensure that each meeting room is properly cleaned and sanitized between uses and that lobbies and restrooms are sanitized at regular intervals throughout the day. Each venue also needs to have sufficient hand sanitizing stations available for guests. Be sure to check with your specific venue on the cleaning protocol for your event.
With COVID-19 being transmitted through aerosols, what steps are venues taking to make it safer to meet inside?
Convention centers around Washington have either undergone or are in the process of upgrading their HVAC systems to include improved filtration systems and increased outside airflow as much as possible. The Centers for Disease Control calls for increasing filters to MERV 13, the highest level of filtration possible, if HVAC systems can allow it. Venues are also keeping doors and windows open when possible to further increase outside airflow.
What is expected from the meeting organizer hosting the meeting?
There are a couple of key responsibilities for meeting organizers. The first is ensuring that all attendees are pre-registered with contact information as on-site registration is not permitted. That information must be retained by the organizer in case contact tracing is necessary. The second thing that organizers are responsible for is managing the program in a way that reduces the gathering of attendees in common areas. If you have multiple sessions happening in a building, it will be key to stagger start, end, and break times to reduce gathering in common areas. Check with your specific venue to see if there are any further expectations.
Is my nonprofit fundraiser now allowed under the new guidance?
The Governor’s guidance is designed to allow business meetings, trainings, and testing, so unfortunately fundraising events with outside patrons do not meet the current criteria. If you would like to conduct an internal training or meeting for your staff, that would certainly be allowed.
Can a single organization contract more than one business event on the same day using safely separated zones?
Yes, a single group may have multiple seminars provided they fall within the Governor’s guidelines.
Will your venue provide temperature checks?
Temperature checks will be performed for staff at some venues upon arriving at work. Guests will not be subject to temperature checks performed by the venue. Individual events may choose to enact this system with their own personnel.
What if one of my attendees notifies me that they have tested positive for COVID-19 after my meeting?
Meeting planners must notify the venue and the local health department within 24 hours if you suspect an attendee previously exposed to COVID-19 was present at your event or if you are aware of an attendee developing a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 within a 14-day period immediately following the event.