Tools for Planning Healthy Meetings in Spokane
Visit Spokane is here to help you plan your meeting or convention in a smart, safe and healthy way. We'll outline what Washington has done to minimize exposure as well as a roundup of health and safety practices that will help you plan a safe, enjoyable, and successful event in Spokane.
Convening in the Time of Covid
We know the value of in-person meetings. They create opportunities for spontaneous interaction. They allow us to meet new, energizing people. They take us to exciting locales. Human connections and the invaluable conversations that happen by chance among attendees provide an advantage that remote meetings simply cannot offer.
Despite the value, the decision to move forward with in-person events while promoting smart, safe ways for participants to avoid Covid-19 can seem daunting. Not to worry, we're here to help.
How to Protect Convention Attendees from Covid
- Require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for all employees, clients, members, and guests.
- Create an opportunity for vulnerable participants to connect virtually.
- Reassign staff members to positions with less exposure. As an example, have them help with setup and tear down or work remotely when possible.
- Stagger employee breaks.
- Discourage congregating in areas that could become congested.
- Disallow the sharing of equipment and/or workstations.
- Avoid handshakes and hugs.
Provide information about Covid-19 levels in Spokane and any host community so that attendees can make informed decisions about traveling and participating.
- Reduce session sizes.
- Avoid printed schedules and use electronic information systems.
- Increase barriers and spacing between seats.
Offer multiple conveniently positioned hand sanitizing stations.
- Require masks and have extras on hand.
- Require staff to wash their hands frequently.
- Create an easy way for staff and participants to report COVID symptoms and exposure.
- Assign an employee to monitor Covid preparedness and monitoring.
Post-COVID symptom lists and facts about the virus in high-traffic areas during your convention.
- Provide on-site testing and/or temperature checks.
How to Promote and Practice Safe Travel
- When possible, consider transportation that limits exposure such as walking and biking.
- Require any transit company providing service during your convention to follow protocols regarding masking. Consider ordering a larger than a necessary coach to space out riders.
- Ensure that buses, vans, and other vehicles providing transportation for participants are disinfected prior to service.
- Advise attendees and vendors prior to the event or gathering that they should not attend if they have tested positive for Covid-19.
- Communicate with vendors and attendees to ensure they are aware of COVID-19 safety protocols employed at the event.
- Notify staff, attendees, and the public of any cancellations and restrictions in place to limit people’s exposure to COVID-19 (for example, limited hours of operation, or expanded hours with limited attendance at a given time).
- Identify and address potential language, cultural, and disability barriers associated with communicating COVID-19 information to event staff and attendees.
- Share information in a way that is easily understood by various audiences.
- Require participants and staff to stay home when they are sick, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or are caring for someone who is sick.
- Institute a backup staffing plan. Make sure staff are cross-trained and can change positions swiftly if needed.
- Train staff on all safety protocols. Consider using CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers as a guide.
- Conduct daily health checks of staff and attendees safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations.
- Event administrators may consider using examples of screening methods in CDC’s General Business FAQs as a guide.
- Avoid or limit the sharing of convention space, particularly with groups using different safety tactics.
- Promote good health practices such as exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy foods.
Ideas for Providing Safe Meal Service
- Reduce crowd sizes by serving meals in multiple locations and staggering or elongating mealtimes.
- Assign people to a meal location to control the number of participants seated in any one area.
- Avoid the use of buffets that require the sharing of utensils.
- Provide packaged foods and single-use condiments. (There are environmentally friendly sources!)
- Serve immune-boosting foods, such as fruit, smoothies, greens, acai bowls, vitamin-infused waters, salads, lean proteins, and such.
- Offer seating options that accommodate varying comfort levels.
- Consider using large communal tables with chairs spaced and in a zigzag pattern and highboy tables for one person.
- Avoid self-serve stations and consider mini platters of hors oeuvres or charcuterie.
- Use reusable dishes and utensils or, when needed, biodegradable products made from bamboo or palm leaf.
Ways to Operate Safer Exhibitions
- Establish wider exhibition aisles, designated entrance, and exit points.
- Stagger set-up and tear-down times to minimize contact between exhibitors.
- Limit the number of people who can access the exhibit area at any one time.
- Provide sanitizing stations.
- Do not serve unpackaged food or beverages.
- Increase air circulation when possible.
- Require masks and proof of vaccination to enter the exhibition space.
Convention Center Information
Since spring 2020, our convention center has partnered with the Washington Meeting and Convention Coalition and other regional and public health partners to identify and implement processes and protocols for keeping you safe.
The Spokane Convention Center has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. Under the guidance of GBAC, Spokane Convention Center has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning and disinfecting and guarding against infectious disease.
To achieve GBAC STAR™ accreditation, Spokane Convention Center demonstrated compliance with the program’s 20 core elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures. Learn more about GBAC STAR accreditation at www.gbac.org.
Spokane Convention Center protocols meet or exceed the recommendations and requirements set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Spokane Regional Health District.
Additional Industry Resources
- Events Industry Council APEX COVID-19 Recovery Guides
- Events Industry Council COVID Resource Center– Updated regularly; This is a combined resource center that provides resource links for multiple industry organizations including PCMA, MPI, DI, IAVM and others)
- IACC Guide to Re-Imagining Refreshment Breaks and the IACC
- Guide to Re-Imagining Conference Breaks
- US Travel Association Coronavirus Research
- Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide
- IAEE White Paper: Essential Considerations for Safely Reopening
- Exhibitions and Events
- PSAV MeetSafe Guidelines
- Connect Safe Space Event Guidelines
- Meetings Mean Business Resources
- US Chamber of Commerce State by State Reopening Guidance– updated regularly
- Standards of Safety in Business Travel– The Travel and Meeting Standards task force, known as TAMS
Finally, Visit Spokane thanks you for your attention to this important matter and for your dedication to preventing the spread of Covid-19. We hope that you will elect to safely convene in Spokane!