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Convention Centers’ Capacity During COVID-19

Venue Capacity Restrictions

Each convention center, each city, and each state has different restrictions on mass gatherings and building capacities during COVID-19. As vaccines are being distributed, many marketers are beginning to plan for the return of events, but every convention center has different regulations. These rules are continuously evolving in each location as COVID-19 numbers fluctuate.

Keeping up with these restrictions can be time consuming and laborious, but we're here to help. Many event marketers are struggling to identify which states and venues can accommodate them during COVID-19. As vaccines are being distributed, there are industries that are eager to return to in-person events and it is critical to understand which venues will allow their audiences. As of February 26th, 2021, we've compiled a list of every GBAC Star certified convention center and their current capacity/gathering restrictions.

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) issues the GBAC Star accreditation for facilities meeting the highest levels of cleaning standards. Facilities of any size can apply for a GBAC Star and convention centers across the country have implemented comprehensive cleaning protocols in preparation for opening and maintaining a safe environment for large gatherings.

St. Louis, Missouri

Operating at 25% of their permitted occupancy.

Dallas, Texas

"If someone has requested a permit with an attendance over 10, the Convention and Event Services – Office of Special Events is currently working with the requestors to modify their permit application to reschedule to a later date or to elect to cancel their event."

Anaheim, California

Closed for events.

Reno, Nevada

Maximum capacity reduced to 50%.

Large group gatherings are not allowed at this time.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Closed for events. Current vaccination site.

Austin, Texas

"The general rule is that all businesses may now operate at 75% of the total listed occupancy of the establishment."

Baltimore, Maryland

Closed for events.

"Gatherings of any size are allowed as long as social distancing and sanitation procedures are followed."

Boise, Idaho

"Open and currently holding meetings and events for up to 50 people per room with appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures."

Charlotte, North Carolina

Limit occupancy per room to 100 people, or 30% of fire capacity, whichever is less

"The Ohio Department of Health has suspended all planned gatherings of more than 100 people."

"Conference Venues and Meeting Rooms shall be allowed to open at 50% of permitted occupancy as long as no food or drinks are being served."

Rochester, New York

"Open Texas plan increased allowable venue capacity to 50% of the total listed occupancy."

Fort Worth, Texas

Closed for events.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

No specific capacity percentage is being required or recommended

Seating capacities and floor plans are reviewed on an event-by-event basis at this time.

Modified room capacities found at the link below.

15% max capacity of fixed seating or 300 whichever is smaller

Conferences not required by law must be limited by the host to no more than 10 people.

"Occupancy in each room/area is limited to 25 percent capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer (excluding staff)."

Closed to events.

No more than 75 percent of the total listed occupancy.

15% max capacity of fixed seating or 300 whichever is smaller.

Indianapolis, Indiana

"Any event with anticipated attendance above 250 people, such as fairs/festivals, conventions, and sporting events, must submit an event plan for MCPHD approval."

New York, New York

Closed for events. Open as vaccination site.

Kansas City, Missouri

Events that "intend to have more than 10 persons at an event must submit a waiver to the Kansas City Health Department. If that waiver is granted, that event may operate at up to 50 percent capacity, unless otherwise directed by the Health Department."

50% of building's capacity.

Louisville, Kentucky

"We will limit the persons, not including employees, present in our venue to 50% of the maximum permitted occupancy capacity."

"We will limit the persons, not including employees, present in our venue to 50% of the maximum permitted occupancy capacity."

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

"Venues hosting events or gatherings must determine their established occupancy limit as defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code and then apply the attendee calculator to determine how many attendees are permitted to attend the event or gathering."

"Public gatherings and venues that host events such as live entertainment or group meetings are limited to 50 people or to 25 percent of capacity, whichever number is lower."

Long Beach, California

Closed for events.

Long Beach, California

Closed for events.

Lynwood, Washington

"Meetings, trainings, testing and court events are permitted at 25% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is less."

"Retail events such as fairs and tradeshows can occur at 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is less."

Chicago, Illinois

"Large in-person events such as conventions can’t happen until the final phase of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase reopening plan."

Bellevue, Washington

"Business meetings are now limited to training and testing that cannot be done virtually and is limited to 100 guests or 25% occupancy, whichever is less."

Miami Beach, Florida

"Miami Dade County capacity recommendations for banquet halls and meeting rooms at 50% of standard capacity."

Minneapolis, Minnesota

"Indoor meeting venues [can] host events with groups of up to 25% occupant capacity, not to exceed more than 150 people."

"Limit capacity to 50% of approved capacity levels."

Monterey, California

Closed for events.

Updated room capacities.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

"The events must remain under 50% capacity, adhere to social distancing, require masks, and follow AccelerateSC guidelines."

Oakland, California

Closed for events.

Portland, Oregon

Closed for events. Mass vaccination site.

West Palm Beach, Florida

Size not restricted locally, but updated capacities per room.

Pasadena, California

Closed for events.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Closed for events.

Closed for events.

"Meeting spaces, including hotels, can host gatherings of up to 100 people per room or 30 percent of the room capacity, whichever is fewer. Small- and medium-sized venues must limit occupancy to 25 people indoors, and 100 people or 30 percent of seated capacity outdoors."

Riverside, California

Closed for events.

San Diego, California

Closed for events.

San Jose, California

Closed for events.

Savannah, Georgia

"Conventions must follow the state's safety guidelines, but are not restricted in terms of capacity."

Tampa, Florida

Theater sets in Ballrooms and Meeting Rooms shall not exceed 50% capacity.

Athens, Georgia

"Occupancy by room is revised to accommodate distancing, and it shall be required to comply with a maximum of 10 people per 300 square feet of meeting room space per state mandates."

Salt Lake City, Utah

Updated capacity per room.

Visalia, California

Closed for events.

Operating at 50% capacity

"Effective seating for any function space has been reduced to roughly 25% or less of published capacity."

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"Public gatherings are limited to no more than 25% of the total occupancy limits for the room or building, as established by the local municipality."

Safely Returning to Shows

As you navigate your safe return to trade shows and events, it's important to stay up-to-date on a variety of information including cleaning protocols, venue restrictions, distancing guidelines and more.

We are constantly monitoring industry regulations and changes, and we're ready to help your team when the time is right.

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