COVID-19 has had a rippling effect across the convention center industry and across all sectors of the economy – initially impacting the Orange County Convention Center followed by its tourism partners, airlines and hotels, including Orlando’s world-class theme parks and other restaurants and entertainment attractions.The Center of Hospitality and the trade show industry has withstood many economic challenges like 9-11 and the recession of the late 2000s, but nothing can compare to the repercussions of COVID-19.
With its longstanding commitment to supporting the local community, the OCCC offered its offsite and remote parking lots to assist the Central Florida region in its time of need. The use of the OCCC’s remote parking locations for temporary COVID-19 testing collection efforts were coordinated in partnership with Orange County Government, the Florida National Guard, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Florida Department of Health, and local law enforcement. The OCCC’s transportation team has also supported the planning efforts and logistical operations.
“Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings’ guiding principles of innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness is a testament of our commitment to our community and how we will work with state and local partners to get through this together,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester.
COVID-19 Testing Site at the OCCC
During this time, the OCCC team also increased precautionary measures and communication throughout the facility to safeguard essential employees and future guests. In an effort to control the spread of germs, additional sanitation measures have taken place across the campus to ensure the Center is ready to host convention attendees again.
OCCC Environmental Services
The OCCC’s exclusive food and beverage partner Centerplate has also displayed its dedication to Central Florida by donating more than 12,000 pounds of food to local organizations, as a result of the cancelled activity at the Center. Centerplate also demonstrated their commitment to OCCC employees through offering discounted cases of water and juices, as well as ensuring food service methods are safe and sanitary across the OCCC. Centerplate Executive Chef James Katurakes also hosted an Employee Meal Packing Event to provide pre-packaged meal kits to full-time hourly Centerplate employees who were impacted by current events.
Despite setbacks, donations from past events at the OCCC, such as food, office supplies and pet items, were recently gifted to Second Harvest of Central Florida, A Gift for Teaching, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and Habitat for Humanity.
Global Pet Expo donation to the the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
From traffic coordination at the test site and new sanitation measures to food donations and sustainability efforts, OCCC employees and partners alike have stepped up to assist the community in its time of need.
As the nationwide and local COVID-19 response continues, the OCCC’s top priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of its employees, the surrounding community and long-standing clients and guests. And although we are physically apart, we are more connected than ever. We are all in this together.