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Convention centers are ready to welcome people back. Here’s how they’re doing it safely.

By December 1, 2020March 16th, 2021Projection

Even if a meeting is fully virtual for attendees, there is always a physical element. Whether it’s the tech team in a “command center” or speakers gathering in a virtual studio to pre-record their talks or deliver them live, every event starts from a physical place.

And, now, even though most meetings are still taking place in virtual environments, we are starting to talk about and plan for hybrid events with elements of both virtual and in-person.

That’s why convention facilities – such as the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Baltimore Convention Center, and Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. – have spent time and money getting ready to welcome people and events back safely. Here’s a look at what they’re doing to make sure anyone who steps through their doors can do so knowing the center has done everything possible to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

Designed and built virtual studios
MeetingsNet presents some of the benefits convention centers bring to the table right now: They have relatively open calendars, large spaces available for stage set-ups and social distancing, production company relationships in place, and are creating new, broadcast-ready spaces to make the virtual or hybrid experience even more turnkey and professional.

Walter E. Washington’s Studio 801 offers broadcast-quality video production space that’s fully equipped for virtual or hybrid events. The space can scale from 19,000 to 52,000 square feet.

Baltimore Convention Center – in its virtual studio – recently produced programming for the International Association of Exhibition and Events’ CEM Week, held virtually August 24-28. More recently, the facility has upgraded its virtual/hybrid stage to accommodate events that include both in-person elements along with remote presenters and attendees.

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center boasts a full-service studio in its Horizon Ballroom. From the studio, they support webinars, livestream broadcasts and pre-recorded presentations.


Enhanced safety protocols
The Washington E. Washington Convention Center was the first along the Northeast corridor to achieve Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) Star Accreditation. That recognition signifies adherence to international standards of sanitation, disinfection and hygiene.

Deployed new tools
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has also implemented COVID-prevention technological tools, such as:

  • Kogniz artificial intelligence video monitoring system
  • thermal scanning and mask detection
  • nanoSeptic self-cleaning surfaces

Made facility modifications
In addition to the new tools centers are implementing, they have modified their spaces with things like Fujitec Ionful elevator air purification system, hand sanitizer stations and star-designed social distancing reminders.

As we look to 2021, it’s exciting to see more meeting options as convention centers re-open with new ways to help us come together safely – even if that means in smaller groups at first. So, here’s to small steps towards gathering together again.

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