ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A large event that was set to take place at the Orange County Convention Center next month has been postponed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The 47th Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Volleyball Championships, which were scheduled to take place in June, pending Florida’s advancement to the next phase of its three-phased approach to safely reopening the state’s economy.
Organizers made the announcement Friday saying that after further review and due to the findings of Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force, the tournament will not take place until July.
“Since 1888, the AAU has prided itself on providing quality event participation opportunities to millions of athletes in a safe environment,” said AAU President & CEO Dr. Roger J. Goudy. “Our goal has always been to host the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships when, and where, it was deemed safe to do so and with all necessary containment and mitigation measures in place. In working with the OCCC, we recognize the current status of the disease precludes us from meeting that goal by the original dates in June. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to move the AAU Volleyball event to start July 14. We appreciate everyone’s support and understanding as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters during this time.”
Organizers said in a news release that the event is still subject to change pending the governor’s plans to reopen Florida while continuing to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted the statewide stay-at-home order and allowed most of the state to enter phase one of his three-step plan to reopen the Sunshine State on May 4, though the guidelines for phase one aren’t that different from the stay-home order, which asked people to limit time spent outside their homes and avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
In phase two, large sporting events be limited to 50% capacity and social gatherings should be no larger than 50 people, according to the governor’s plan. It’s unclear how soon Florida could enter phase two but DeSantis said earlier this week that the counties currently in phase one of his plan “have been doing very well.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the youth volleyball tournament was expected to draw 30,000 people to the convention center, less than a third of the 100,000 it drew last year.
Prior to Friday’s announcement, convention center officials were moving forward with a plan to safely put on the large event.
According to convention center officials, that strategy included:
- Rapid implementation of the OCCC Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines
- Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation
- Potential partnerships with large established Central Florida healthcare systems as a service to conventions and trade shows at the OCCC (very early conversations)
“We care deeply about our employees, clients and guests and we will always do what is in the best interest of our community,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “We remain committed to the economic resiliency of our clients and appreciate the AAU’s continued commitment and support of the center.”
Convention center officials said they will continue to work with clients on a day-to-day basis on their trade shows and events.
The rescheduled AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships event will begin July 14, according to the news release. Age division breakdown and details regarding the length of the event will be available soon.