A newly announced plan that will allow California convention centers and other businesses to return more quickly to business as usual drew widespread praise from business leaders Tuesday, but the news arrived too late for one organization.
A trade group that was scheduled to hold its gathering at Anaheim Convention Center in August has shifted the event to Orlando, citing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings in California.
The American Public Transportation Association had initially planned to hold the event Aug. 31 through Sept. 3 in Anaheim but has rescheduled it to run Nov. 7-10 at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
“The decision to relocate was necessary due to current California restrictions on large gatherings and the unpredictability of planning such a large event when it is unclear when these restrictions will ease,” the organization said last week, adding that every other state has issued guidelines for trade shows and conventions.
American Public’s decision came just days before Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, April 6 that California is on track to move beyond its current COVID-19 safety blueprint. That would jettison the color-coded tier system, he said, so the state can begin looking to “fully reopen” California’s economy.”
“We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic,” Newsom said. “We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”
Newsom designated June 15 as the turnaround point. Assuming the state’s vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older and hospitalization rates remain stable and low, every sector of California’s economy will be allowed to resume normal operations, he said, as long as public health policies remain in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
A new track for events
“Normal” will still be far from business as usual.
Anaheim Convention Center, which hasn’t hosted an event in over a year, will be able to resume operations beginning June 15 — but on a smaller scale.
“It will be a two-track system,” city spokesman Mike Lyster explained. “We’ll be able to hold events with up to 5,000 people through Oct. 1, although that would be small by our standards. An average event here would have 50,000 people and a large one would have 115,000.”
The second track beyond Oct. 1 would allow convention center operations to return to a “sort of normal,” he said.
“If an event organizer wanted to administer a program where everyone needed to show a vaccine card or proof of a negative test we could host more people,” Lyster said. “We’ve always looked at this as a transition year. That’s how 2021 shapes up.”
Lyster said Anaheim is grappling with a $108 million budget deficit for its current fiscal year, including about $20 million in lost convention center revenue.
Pasadena police check out the temporary hospital set up at the Pasadena Convention Center Thursday, April 16, 2020. The center took overflow patients from Huntington Hospital when needed due to the …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News