Orange County Convention Center could host big event as early as next month

The convention center is taking a three-step approach to reopening and bringing back big events safely

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – UPDATE: A volleyball tournament expected to bring thousands to the Orange County Convention Center amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been postponed.

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Officials with the Orange County Convention Center said they have a sporting tournament on the books for the middle of June.

The convention center is taking a three-step approach to reopening and bringing back big events safely.

“From what I understand we will be the first big facility to have an event back,” said Mark Kestor, Executive Director of the Orange County Convention Center. “We are excited we are going back and to be the first it just shows that we’ve been doing all the right things in Orange County and we are ready to get back to business.”

The event will happen contingent on Gov.Ron DeSantis’ Phased Two reopening, but the convention center is still getting ready with their three-step approach.

According to convention center officials, that strategy includes:

  1. Rapid implementation of the OCCC Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines
  2. Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation
  3. Potential partnerships with large established Central Florida healthcare systems as a service to conventions and trade shows at the OCCC (very early conversations)

The Global Biorisk Advisory STAR accreditation is an international accreditation created during this pandemic by the International Safety Supply Association.

“It is the resource. It has been supported by the International Association of Venue Managers and also the International Association of Exhibition and Events and these are two industry leaders in best practices so we are excited about moving this program forward,” Kestor said.

Kestor added Hyatt Hotels is in the process of trying to obtain the accreditation as well. For the convention center it will require staff members to be trained among a long list of standards, like having a certain amount of hand sanitizers per 1,000-square-feet, Kestor added.

"It is absolutely something that totally makes sense to us," Kestor said.

According to the convention center, as of May 12th, 21 events were rescheduled at the convention center for later this year or next year expecting to bring back about $425 million dollars to the local economy. However, 27 events were canceled altogether for a loss of $637 million dollars, Kestor said.

“We greatly appreciate those customers that have rescheduled with us and remained loyal all along as we negotiated,” Kestor said. “I’m excited to have them return and am confident they can have a safe and enjoyable event in the Orange County Convention Center.”

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