Weekly Now: Convention Centers Prepare for Reopening

With rules easing and schedules filling up once again, the big-city convention may be ready for a comeback. Also: The ALS Association sets a major goal for 2030—fighting to keep those with ALS alive.

With COVID-19 cases significantly down across the country and rules for public gatherings loosening up as the vaccine becomes more common nationwide, cities are preparing to reopen their convention centers in a big way.

In Boston, for example, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority is preparing to reopen the city’s major events facilities, including the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in the coming weeks, according to the Trade Show News Network—with some of the first tradeshows returning to the city in September.

Beantown isn’t alone; Denver recently opened up its Colorado Convention Center for a volleyball tournament that involved more than 5,000 teenage athletes. And Chicago’s McCormick Place is readying the venue for 122 events expected to take place between now and the end of 2022, with the nearby Marriott Marquis Chicago opening up for private events as soon as this month, according to NBC 5 Chicago.

And Las Vegas, home to many of the largest tradeshows in the country, is ready to go as Nevada’s Clark County reopens fully on June 1.

“We have 30 shows that are on our calendar for the rest of the year. They tell us they’re all coming,” Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson, a Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board member, told NBC 3 News Las Vegas.

While it may be a while before the events industry is back to normal, the reopenings definitely reflect a turned corner.

Other recent headlines:

ALS Association sets bold goal for fighting disease. The association that found major financial success half a decade ago with the Ice Bucket Challenge is making the case that with the right level of research and resourcing, it should be possible to live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by 2030. In a news release, the association states that while the disease has no cure, it wants to ensure that those who have the disease will live longer, higher-quality lives than was possible a decade ago. “The work the ALS Association is doing to find new treatments and cures and improve care will benefit those of us living with ALS now,” said ALS Association board member Larry Falivena, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2017.

American Kennel Club teams with police canine group. The U.S. Police Canine Association, the largest certifying body for police dogs in the country, will team up with the American Kennel Club—best known for its annual dog shows—on a new competition for detection dogs, which the groups say will help teach the public about the benefits and the capabilities of police canines. “AKC is honored to collaborate with the USPCA,” AKC President and CEO Dennis B. Sprung said in a news release. “They protect our citizens, strive to educate the public on many important dog-related topics, and are an integral part of our communities.”

The Pandemic’s Impact on Human Interaction

With the pandemic shifting what it means to connect with other people, what does that mean moving forward? This was a question PCMA Convene recently posed to Yale School of Management professor Marissa King, a sociologist who focuses on organizational behavior and author of ‌Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection.

Her thoughts? The pandemic has forced us inward, and Zoom is not exactly a good replacement for in-person interaction—especially of the “casual hallway conversation,” as she calls it.

“If you look at our networks during the pandemic, what’s happened is that we’ve naturally focused on our inner core of social relationships,” she told the magazine’s Barbara Palmer. “It makes perfect sense—and we’ve seen that after other crises.”


Depending on where you use it, asynchronous content can help strengthen the power of your events. Talley Management Group’s Derrick Johnson explains how.

When the pandemic finally ends, it could be a good time to build your global ambitions based on the additional digital audiences you might have reached during the pandemic, writes Mark Athitakis.

Member relationships aren’t the same as business transactions and should be treated more thoughtfully, says Joy Duling, founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which is in the midst of reopening. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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