As the latest variation of the coronavirus disrupts businesses and gatherings, events at Massachusetts Convention Center Authority properties are moving ahead as planned, Executive Director David Gibbons said Monday.
The convention business, predicated on having large groups of people from all over the country or world gather indoors, was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and derailed by government-mandated gathering limits. The MCCA saw business start to bounce back in 2021, but the latest surge in virus activity has cast fresh uncertainty on the industry as other large-scale indoor events have been scrubbed from the calendar.
"People were committing and then along came this latest wave ... Everything's going forward so far. Somebody called us about August, I can't remember which client, and we said that's much too premature to even discuss," Gibbons told the MCCA's Executive Committee when asked if clients are committing to events in light of the omicron variant. "So people are getting used to going forward and the meetings are smaller, but very high quality. The meetings we've had, we see a good spend on the extras, the place settings. So, so far, so good."
Gibbons said the MCCA and organizers have COVID-19 related protocols in place for the Boston Volleyball Festival scheduled for the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center during the end of February and beginning of March but did not mention specific plans for events taking place between now and then.
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The BCEC is set to host the 2022 Boston RV & Camping Expo this coming weekend, the Massachusetts Municipal Association's annual meeting on Jan. 21 and 22, a Mass. Dental Society conference the weekend of Jan. 27-29, and other events.
Those, and other events planned for the Hynes Convention Center, will be subject to the city of Boston's indoor mask mandate (in addition to the MCCA's own masking policy) and the city's proof of vaccination requirement that begins Saturday