We are looking forward to welcoming meetings and events back to San Diego!
The following answers reflect the information we have available to us as of April 8, 2021. We will update and clarify this information as we receive further details from our State and County officials.
1. Timing & Tiers
When is the California’s economy scheduled to fully reopen?
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on April 6, 2021, that the State’s economy would reopen on June 15, 2021, if successful vaccination efforts continue, and hospitalization rates remain low.
Why is the State so sure that it can reopen then?
Three reasons: Vaccinations continue to ramp up, hospitalizations remain low and case rates are falling. To date, 20 million vaccine doses have been given to Californians and at least 70 percent of those 65 or older have received at least one dose. State officials are confident that California will continue to see progress in its vaccination rates, which will allow it to effectively manage hospitalizations and case rates.
With the planned reopening of California’s economy what happens to the tier-system?
The current color-coded tier system will be retired once the California economy reopens on June 15. 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 has an end date of July 15.
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?
From June 15 through October 1, conventions are limited to 5,000 attendees unless attendees can verify vaccination or there is onsite testing for non-vaccinated attendees. If the testing or vaccination verification criteria are met, there is no limit on number of attendees.
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 our workers who are fully vaccinated, as well as the requirements for testing of any non-vaccinated 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?
We are currently awaiting further guidance from the State, which could come as soon as April 15.
When will there be additional guidance for smaller private events?
The State hopes to provide additional guidance on this as soon as April 15.
3. Vaccinations & Testing Guidelines
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 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, if they can show proof that they are vaccinated.
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
Who will be responsible for the vaccination verification or onsite testing?
While we are waiting for clarification from the State, it is our understanding that it will be the responsibility of the show organizer or meeting planner.
We expect to have further guidance on this matter as early as April 15.
Is the expectation that an event organizer will provide daily onsite testing or just on the first day of a meeting?
The State plans to clarify its testing requirements when it releases further guidelines, which could be as soon as April 15.
How will the vaccine verification work? What system or technology will planners use?
As it stands now, the State believes meeting planners at California venues will likely need to use a private-sector solution for vaccine verification. The State hopes to provide more details, including guidelines and minimum standards for vaccination verification systems, as soon as April 15.
Can event organizers expect to lean on CLEAR for proof of COVID-19 vaccination?
As of now, the State has not identified specific vendors that could assist meeting planners with vaccination verification. State officials will provide greater insight into vaccine verification vendors and standards when they release additional guidelines, which could come as soon as April 15.
5. Additional Health & Safety Protocols
Does that mean mask mandates are ending?
No, we expect mask mandates will continue to be in place in California, especially when it comes to indoor and large-scale events.
Is social distancing mandatory? What are the guidelines for social distancing?
Currently, the guidelines address capacity limits and do not spell out social distancing guidelines. We expect the State will provide additional guidance as soon as April 15.
6. 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?
There is no State mandate that these employees be vaccinated. Be assured, 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 center 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.
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 of our 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.