ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – After 48 conventions canceled for a loss of more than $1 billion amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Orange County Convention Center is ready for its comeback, with plans to host its first major event next week.
The Amateur Athletic Union 2020 Junior National Volleyball Championship is expected to begin Tuesday and last through Thursday.
“We are really excited to have events in our facility and we are so appreciative of AAU Volleyball and all that they are going to be bringing to our community,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “The industry is starting to come back and there is pent up demand.”
According to county leaders, the championship, which was initially scheduled to take place last month, is expected to bring 12,000 athletes and their 5,000 coaches and parents to Orlando.
Convention center officials said they are ready to host the thousands after being one of only two convention centers in the nation to receive Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR accreditation, recognized for its global standard in cleaning and disinfecting.
“There was 20 different areas that we had to show that we had understood and accomplished and we got to them, so we were very happy with that,” Tester said.
The AAU also posted a list of their protocols online, showing the games will be livestreamed and courts will be separated.
There will also be no spectators allowed in, no international teams, no vendors and no opening ceremonies. There will be health screenings and temperature checks, as well as mask requirements for everyone, except the players during warmups and competition.
“The AAU is committed to the health and safety of its participants attending next week’s AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships. For this event, several measures have been put in place to promote appropriate social distancing and proper containment mitigation measures,” said a spokesperson with the AAU. “There are four days of competition per team and large areas of distance between courts to allow for larger and wider aisles. There will also be dedicated entrances and exits throughout the building to include a designated check-in location and limited hall access. Pre-screenings and temperature checks will be taken daily at a dedicated location for all attendees and officials. Masks will be required at all times except for players while on the court during warm-up or competition.”