Explore St. Louis Setting Standard For Pandemic-era Convention Center’s Re-use

February 9, 2021

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While the pandemic was altering the dynamics of the meetings and events industry for the past 11 months, Explore St. Louis’ officials found different ways to reinvent and adapt, proving that creative thinking – and excellent safety protocols – are the only new strategy for the foreseeable future.

The Michelangelo Case Study: Opened to the public on Nov. 6, 2020, at the 27,625 sq. ft. America’s Ballroom on the second floor of America’s Center, the international touring exhibit Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition quickly made all the major leisure local and national publications headlines. An immersive journey through the iconic masterpieces that adorn the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy – all while never leaving St. Louis.

The opening was launched with a virtual press conference on StreamStage, the CVB’s hybrid meeting facility. With over 37 event days, including a three-day extension, the event sold 15,457 tickets creating a tourism opportunity in downtown St. Louis and generating over $210,000 in revenue and operating profit – All while utilizing the facility in a productive way during a time period it would have otherwise been dark.

So how did they pull this off? St. Louis’ America’s Center did it right. Recently acknowledged internationally as a GBAC STAR accredited facility, the Center put in place rigorous health safety protocols including:

  • Touch-free entry doors
  • Infrared temperature screenings for guests upon entry
  • Mandatory use of face coverings & practicing of social distancing
  • Abundant signage
  • Rigorous sanitization of all surfaces as well as employing several hourly staff for cleaning, security and concessions
  • Individual event plans developed in conjunction with St. Louis City health officials.

Following their visit and experience, all guests were surveyed by email providing strong positive reviews for the exhibit and safety protocols.

It is not the first time that the center proves itself capable of pulling a large event off during the pandemic. In the summer, the Dome at America’s Center hosted the entire filming of American Ninja Warrior, the first NBC show to have completed a full season of episodes during the current pandemic. The GBAC Certified team at America’s Center prepared the facility, working to ensure that crew, staff, and contestants could compete responsibly. Explore St. Louis staff collaborated with the city health officials to develop and implement safety protocols making events like this possible in the present environment.



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