SEATTLE – The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) can reopen for business following Governor Inslee’s modifications to the state’s Phase 2 and Phase 3 restrictions around business meetings, professional development training and testing, and similar activities, effective September 21, 2020.
The new guidance permits meeting and business events to be held at an indoor capacity of 30 percent of the usable space or 200 guests, whichever is less (excluding venue staff). Alcohol, receptions and networking events are still prohibited.
“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to welcome back small groups to the building in Phase 2,” said Jeff Blosser, Washington State Convention Center President & 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.”
In its effort to ensure the safety of event attendees and staff, WSCC anticipates deploying an extensive collection of protocols. Examples include:
Personal Protective Equipment
- Requiring all staff and event attendees to wear face coverings while in and around the facility.
- Providing hand sanitizer stations throughout the building.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces using products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Cleaning and disinfection of restrooms, meeting rooms and spaces between uses.
- Utilizing electrostatic sprayers to aid in disinfection, and ATP meters to measure the success in cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
- Providing indication of when spaces have been disinfected and how effectively.
Catering and Banquet Services
- Offering a Safety First Menu with solutions to ensure the highest levels of food safety.
- Modifying staffing, operations, and culinary practices, plus changes to the meal and food service. Examples include: the use of plexiglass shields at staffed food stations; compostable single-use service ware, pre-packaged food options; touchless hot urns and cold beverage containers; and consideration given to physical distancing in all break and meal placements.
- Monitoring and limiting access to registered event attendees only to allow contract tracing.
- Directional hallways and passageways have been established for foot traffic, and separate routes will be designated for entry and exit into the building, meeting rooms and other shared spaces where possible.
- Room sets will be arranged to achieve recommended physical distance between attendees.
Along with safety guidelines, the convention center has also developed a virtual event studio which will allow meeting planners to broadcast virtual or hybrid (both in-person and virtual) meetings to attendees. The studio, which features first-class projection, lighting and a pre-installed audio/video control system, is an essential addition for the interim reality of in-person meetings.
On July 7, WSCC announced its commitment to achieve the GBAC STAR™ accreditation on outbreak prevention, response and recovery. WSCC also released a Safety First Overview, which outlines the guidelines, precautionary measures, and requirements to be followed by everyone who enters the building.
The modification of restrictions was due to the advocacy of the Washington Meeting and Convention Coalition, a group of statewide partners assembled to advocate for group meeting and convention business in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
“I would like to thank Governor Inslee, his staff, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, and the Washington State Department of Health for their understanding of the value of meetings and conventions to our region,” said Frank Finneran, WSCC Chairman of the Board of Directors. “This is a reassuring step toward a new normal in our industry and helping to reopen important commerce in downtown Seattle. I really appreciate the coordination work by Becky Bogard, of Bogard & Johnson, and the collaboration of the members of the Coalition. All are committed to safely hosting small meetings now and look forward to the day when we can welcome larger groups.”
Questions about booking event space can be directed to the WSCC sales team through wscc.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find a full list of all reopening guidance here.
About the Washington State Convention Center
Located in the heart of Seattle and walking distance to world-class hotels, restaurants, entertainment and attractions, the Convention Center’s Arch building has been the Northwest’s premier meeting and event facility for over 31 years, providing industry-leading service, award-winning catering and innovative solutions for event planners, guests and visitors. WSCC looks forward to opening the Summit building, adding approximately 248,000 square feet of exhibit space, 59 meeting rooms, and a 58,000 square-foot ballroom to the Center’s offerings, in Spring 2022. For more information, visit www.wscc.com.