The Greater Way Forward - Update on COVID-19 and Convention Center Reopening

The Greater Way Forward

Update on COVID-19 and events

While we miss you and cannot wait to welcome you back, we remain committed to the best interests and well-being of our team members, clients, guests, and community.

Reopening Guidelines

In collaboration with the Washington Safe Meeting and Convention Coalition, the Greater Tacoma Convention Center and other facilities proposed guidelines for the reopening of the meetings industry in Washington State. 

UPDATE 02.01.21: Tacoma is currently in Phase 2 of Washington Governor Jay Inslee's “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery,” a COVID-19 phased recovery plan. The regional recovery approach combines Tacoma and Pierce County with King and Snohomish County in the Puget Sound Region. Phase 2 includes the following: 

  • In-person business meetings are permitted. Professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each room/area is limited to 25 percent capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer (excluding staff).
  • Occupancy for an indoor retail event, such as a trade or consumer show, is limited to 25 percent capacity, up to 300 people (excluding staff), whichever is fewer.
  • Sporting Events are permitted for low risk sports, such as gymnastics, no-contact cheerleading, and no-contact dance, with capacity capped at the lesser of 25% fire code capacity or 200 people for each room (excluding staff).
  • Weddings: Indoor ceremonies and receptions, or similar gatherings in conjunction with such indoor ceremonies are permitted and must follow the appropriate venue guidelines. Maximum capacity of 200 or 25% capacity (not including vendors), whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups. If food or drinks are served, additional guidelines must be followed.

Floor plans to reduce occupancy can be customized to fit your needs. Please contact us for more information.

What To Expect

We continue making modifications to ensure we exceed reopening guidelines so our clients and guests feel comfortable returning and clients feel confident booking their next event. 

While we continue to follow this dynamic situation, we have developed our readiness plan and here is some of what clients and guests can expect now and in the coming months: 

  • We have achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) Star™ Accreditation. GBAC STAR™ is the venue industry’s premier outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities. Under the guidance of GBAC, a division of the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA), the Greater Tacoma Convention Center has adopted the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention, aligning with venues across North America and the world in commitment to the highest safety and cleaning standards.
  • HVAC upgrades to improve indoor air quality, including BiPolar ionization units to reduce contaminated air particles, protecting people from airborne bacteria and viruses.
  • Electrostatic sprayers will be used to thoroughly disinfect between meetings. Electrostatic cleaning is a means of spraying a fine mist of positively charged disinfectant particles that adhere to surfaces and objects.
  • NanoSeptic® self-cleaning surfaces applied to door handles and elevator buttons.
  • UV-C light array sanitizing units are used to disinfect rooms.
  • Water fountains replaced by single bottle fillers in public lobby areas.
  • All restroom facility fixtures are touchless and air hand dryers disabled.
  • Employee training and healthy workplace protocols including use of appropriate PPE.
  • Frequent cleaning and sanitation of high touch and high traffic areas during events.
  • Hand sanitizer provided throughout the facility.
  • Physical distancing protocols established, including working with clients on adapted seating arrangements in meeting spaces. Clear signage in both front and back of house reinforces COVID-19 policies enforced by staff. Front of house signage is placed in public common areas such as lobbies, elevators, and at entryways.
  • All guests and staff are required to wear face coverings.
  • A COVID-19 compliance staff member is present during every event to ensure appropriate physical distancing and facial coverings practices are in place.
  • Staggered event times will be utilized if there are multiple events in the facility.
  • Creative modifications to food service with more pre-packaged individual service items.
  • Touch-free parking payment is available through the Flowbird App.
  • A controlled environment where attendees are pre-registered and contact information is retained by event planners.

Flexible Booking Guidelines

With the uncertainty of the phased reopening timeline, we have implemented flexible booking guidelines to reduce worries for events in 2021 and beyond:

  • New Training and Testing events that are unable to be conducted virtually can be booked for up to 100 people. Other event types or events with more than 100 people will be considered for mid-2021, only with backup dates selected.
  • New events can be booked for up to 300 people for April, May, and June with a maximum capacity of 50% of each event space. New events of all sizes can be booked for July through December 2021. For all new 2021 events, additional backup dates must be selected within the following six months at the time of booking.
  • Should event dates change within the six month window (or rooms need to change) due to phased guidelines from state government, additional rental fees will not be charged, and all deposits will be transferred to the new date.

We will monitor the continually evolving guidelines through national, international, local and state health authorities while our team continues to create innovative solutions for clients and guests to gather in safe and healthy ways. 

We know there is a lot riding on events here – stay healthy and rest assured that we will continue to adapt and prepare for the greater way forward.