OCCC to Host Together Again Expo, Educating Events Industry on Safety Best Practices
Orange County Convention Center in Orlando is getting back to business safely by welcoming a trade show and conference designed to help the live events industry do the same.
Set for July 24, the Together Again Expo will offer attendees and suppliers the opportunity to learn about new industry best practices, strategies and tools for safely and responsibly reopening live events, conventions and trade shows.
A collaboration between the OCCC and Alliance Nationwide Exposition, a nationwide general services contractor, the face-to-face event is open to all event professionals and suppliers and will include a virtual, live-streaming component for those unable to attend in person.
“The OCCC is proud to host the Together Again Expo to help instill confidence throughout our industry as we begin to incrementally host modified events,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “After weeks of extensive preparations, planning and training, [we are] excited to welcome back clients, attendees and our employees.”
He continued, “By providing a responsible, data-driven Recovery and Resiliency plan, [the facility] is securing its future as a venue and an economic driver for the destination and the industry.”
The Expo will include multiple 15‐minute educational presentations, guest speakers and exhibitor video commercials on a centrally focused Main Stage, along with a product showcase featuring select exhibitors showcasing new health and safety products and services for the events industry. Attendees will also be able to explore showfloor features including a Restaurant Row Pavilion, Hotel Pavilion, Safety Services Pavilion and General Event Services Pavilion.
So far, the event has registered 802 in-person and 1069 virtual attendees, as well as 207 exhibitors, according to OCCC officials.
Together Again will overlap slightly with the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships, the first large event to take place at the OCCC since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Scheduled for July 14-29, the spectator-less competition will occupy almost 1 million square feet of exhibit space at the venue, which will be taking extensive measures to protect the health and safety of its expected 11,520 participants, chaperones and coaches.
“The OCCC will always be a welcoming space for our clients and their attendees, but we will be doing business differently,” Tester said. “Our first priority has been to work with each client to try and assess both their immediate and long-term needs in response to their individual situation.”
Examples of creative solutions the OCCC is taking to help its clients host face-to-face events during the pandemic include adding non-contracted space to allow clients to implement physical distancing measures — such as wider aisles on the trade show floor — as well as additional spacing for general sessions and food and beverage service areas.
OCCC has been moving forward with its rigorous sanitation, hygiene and social distancing practices, following Florida Department of Health recommendations and adhering to the latest CDC guidelines for safely executing large events.
“I have been on daily calls with Orange County’s leading public health and pandemic preparedness experts, as well as various leaders in our medical community representing our hospitals,” Tester said. “They agree that an incremental community reopening makes sense, and that science and data must lead us out of this in a safe manner.”
He added, “Adherence to the current CDC and federal guidelines and following Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force recommendations will enable the OCCC to incrementally host modified events in the future.”
As one of the largest U.S. venues to be awarded Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation, which it achieved on July 9, the OCCC has partnered with Orlando Health healthcare system to pioneer a new, personalized medical concierge program to provide added reassurance for convention group health and safety. Among the first of its kind in the U.S., the program will provide services including customized medical plan guidance, 24/7 medical concierge services and direct access to PPE for attendees.
Meanwhile, to help encourage participation at Together Again Expo, the show is offering free registration to all event industry professionals, while exhibitors can take advantage of a complimentary 10x10 in person booth that comes with a virtual bronze booth. Enhanced sponsorship opportunities for in person 10x20, 20x20 booths and larger are available. To register, go here.