We are looking forward to welcoming meetings and events back to San Diego!
1. Timing & Tiers
When is California’s economy scheduled to fully reopen?
The California economy reopened on June 15, 2021.
See the May 21 Beyond the Blueprint for Industry and Business Sectors memo and the April 6 Beyond the Blueprint memo.
With the planned reopening of California’s economy, what happens to the tier system?
The current color-coded tier system has been retired following the California economy’s June 15 reopening. The State envisions that the most current Blueprint for a Safer Economy guidance will be rendered moot, with all guidance and guidelines going away by October 1.
Is the San Diego Convention Center still planning to end the federal emergency intake site for unaccompanied children seeking asylum on July 15?
Yes, the Convention Center’s agreement with the Office of Refugee Resettlement ended July 15. This effort has ended.
Will the San Diego Convention Center be ready to host events again?
Yes. The Convention Center has detailed plans in place for appropriate cleaning and maintenance before events resume. The Convention Center has already been rebuilding its staff to support the federal emergency intake site/shelter. After supporting multiple large-scale essential activities and earning prestigious safety accreditations, Convention Center staff will be highly experienced and prepared to host event activity.
2. Attendance Limits
What are the attendance limits for conventions, and when will they be lifted?
As of June 15, there aren’t any attendance limits. For indoor events with more than 5,000 attendees, the following public health guidance applies:
- Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result is required of all attendees. The state has determined that “self-attestation” is an acceptable method in meeting the negative testing or fully vaccinated status requirement, meaning that event organizers will be expected to ask event attendees if they meet the requirement. Organizers are encouraged to obtain this confirmation during the online registration process prior to the event. Organizers are not required to retain a record of attendee vaccination records or negative test results.
- Information will be prominently placed on all communications, including the reservation and ticketing systems, to ensure guests are aware of testing and vaccination requirements (including acceptable modes of verification).
- Attendees must follow CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings.
The state will assess conditions by September 1, 2021, to determine whether updated requirements or recommendations are needed beyond October 1, 2021.
Do Convention Center staff and business partners count toward the 5,000 threshold?
Our understanding is that staff working within the building will not count toward the attendee limit.
All employees of the San Diego Convention Center and its business partners have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. We are gathering more information about the exact percentage of workers who are fully vaccinated, as well as the requirements for testing of any unvaccinated workers.
What about show staff?
We are seeking clarification from the State; however, as written, the 5,000 capacity will include show management staff.
When will restrictions on the number of convention attendees be lifted?
The State foresees lifting restrictions on the number of attendees on October 1.
Will the Convention Center and other event facilities be able to host multiple events simultaneously?
Yes, they will if attendees from the different events do not mix.
What do we know about changes to the Convention Center room capacities?
The State is not requiring any changes to room capacities.
3. Vaccinations & Testing Guidelines
What is the definition of “fully vaccinated”?
People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19: two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).
See CDPH Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Persons for additional information.
Is COVID-19 testing or a vaccine necessary if you are traveling to California for an event?
Between June 15 and October 1, if an event has 5,000 or fewer attendees then there is no testing or vaccine verification requirement. If there are more than 5,000 attendees, there must either be testing or vaccination verification. After October 1, these criteria will no longer be required.
Will international attendees be allowed?
Yes; International travelers will need to comply with federal requirements for their travel.
There are not any local requirements for international attendees beyond those that apply to domestic attendees.
Are show staff or exhibitors required to be vaccinated prior to attending a convention?
Between June 15 and October 1, convention capacity can only exceed 5,000 if vaccination status or testing is verified for all attendees. We are seeking clarification from the State; however, as written, the 5,000 capacity will include show management staff and exhibitors.
Will there be mandated vaccinations for attendees after October 1?
The State has said all restrictions would be lifted by October 1, but they may clarify that with later guidance.
4. Vaccinations & Testing Logistics
What is acceptable verification of vaccination?
The following are acceptable as proof of full vaccination: Vaccination card (which includes the name of the person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date of the last dose administered) OR a photo of a vaccination card as a separate document OR a photo of the attendee’s vaccine card stored on a phone or electronic device OR documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider.
Event organizers may also use self-attestation at the point of registration, during ticket purchase or on the day of the event prior to entry into the venue.
What does it mean to “self-attest” to a negative test or fully-vaccinated status?
Each attendee will be asked to confirm that they will meet the requirements for a negative test or are fully vaccinated before entry into the event. Event organizers are encouraged to obtain this confirmation during registration or at ticket purchase. For sales made the day of the event, or for sales made through a third-party seller, confirmation can be made either in writing or verbally by attendees prior to entry.
Do you have a resource for show management to offer COVID-19 testing onsite or a close location to the Convention Center for people to go to get tested?
As Yes, we can provide information about nearby locations and testing providers.
Is the expectation that an event organizer will provide daily onsite testing or just on the first day of a meeting? Can attendees show proof of a negative test within 72 hours of coming to the Convention Center?
Testing must be conducted within 72 hours before event start time (both PCR and antigen are acceptable). Results of the test must be available prior to entry into the event or venue.
Verification: The following are acceptable as proof of a negative COVID-19 test result: printed document (from the test provider or laboratory) OR an email or text message displayed on a phone from the test provider or laboratory. The information should include the person’s name, type of test performed, and negative test result (date of the test must be within prior 72 hours). Event organizers may also utilize self-attestation at registration.
Are there any consequences for falsification of vaccine status or testing results in order to attend an indoor event with over 5,000 attendees?
Vaccination record cards are intended to provide recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine with information about the type of vaccine they received, and when they may be able to receive a second dose of the vaccine. By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, the unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a crime and may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws.
Do event organizers have to retain a record of the participants’ COVID-19 vaccination status or negative test results?
5. Additional Health & Safety Protocols
How has the San Diego Convention Center enhanced its cleaning and ventilation protocols in advance of reopening?
Since March 2020, the SDCC has worked closely with City, County, and Federal public health officials to support a healthy environment for emergency response efforts that have taken place in the SDCC during the pandemic. With the guidance of health officials, the SDCC has enhanced its cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention protocols, and conducted extensive employee training. Having supported continuous, 24/7 activities within the building for well over a year, the SDCC will have one of the most experienced teams in the country when events resume.
The SDCC’s systems are carefully managed to provide the appropriate amount of indoor air circulation and proper outside makeup air. We have also installed additional hand sanitizer stations and hygiene reminder signage throughout the building.
The SDCC’s food and beverage partner, Centerplate, earned an additional hygiene verification label, Rise SAFE, that is specifically for catering operations. Rise SAFE is managed by Centerplate’s parent company, Sodexo, and Bureau Veritas, an independent world leader in testing, inspection and certification.
Will face coverings/masks be required for the event I’m attending?
Inside the convention center building, per government guidance, masks are required for unvaccinated people and recommended for vaccinated people. The State has updated its face-covering guidance to align with CDC recommendations. Individual meeting planners may choose to have policies that go beyond State minimums. Please check the website for the event you’re attending.
SDCC employees and business partners will be subject to additional Cal/OSHA COVID-19 standards.
Is social distancing mandatory? What are the guidelines for social distancing?
Beginning June 15, there will not be any social/physical distancing requirements.
Are event organizers required to conduct contact tracing if they find out someone at the event was positive for COVID-19?
No, but event organizers should cooperate and work closely with their local health departments to assist in any contact tracing efforts. Additionally, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), if applicable to them, which requires that employees be notified of an exposure.
We recommend individuals sign up for CA Notify as an added layer of protection to receive alerts when they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
Are people outside of California allowed to travel to be here?
Is the airport requiring proof of negative test/vaccination for international travelers?
The San Diego International Airport asks all travelers to follow CDC guidelines for traveling. That guidance requests that international travelers fly after being fully vaccinated. See the CDC site for additional details.
7. Destination: San Diego
Is San Diego hospitality staff (e.g., those at restaurants, hotels, and attractions) required to be vaccinated prior to coming back to work?
In San Diego County, more than 83% of the eligible population has had at least one vaccine dose as of July 2021. The San Diego Convention Center has provided several opportunities for employees to be vaccinated onsite at the Center. Additional employee and business partner protocols will be determined based on ongoing data and consultation with health officials.
There is no State mandate for all hospitality and event employees to be vaccinated. San Diego’s hospitality industry has implemented best-in-class safety protocols, including enhanced cleaning and staff training, and have been successfully hosting leisure guests since last summer.
Are you anticipating labor shortages at centers and hotels?
The Convention Center and hotels will be appropriately staffed to provide guests the visitor experience they have come to expect from San Diego.
Will Embarcadero parks be in use for the music events or possibly available for outside receptions? What limitations might be on those outside limitations?
After June 15, it is anticipated that parks such as the Embarcadero will be open for events and receptions without restrictions.
Is San Diego still the beautiful and fun place I remember?
Yes! San Diego still offers near-perfect weather, 70 miles of coastline, unlimited opportunities to explore the outdoors as well as a rich and diverse arts and culture scene. In addition, many hotels, attractions, restaurants, wineries, breweries and other hospitality businesses have innovated and renovated to provide new experiences—all with visitors’ health and well-being top of mind.