The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt across many different markets, including the meetings and event industry. Like all others, these vendors have pivoted. Industry organizations in the Beckley-Raleigh County area have been working hard to provide new resources and safety precautions for professionals needing to host their meetings and events.
Under Governor Justice’s reopening plan, West Virginia Strong — The Comeback, all meeting and conference centers in the state are allowed to be open with new guidelines in place, including self-screenings for guests and mandatory face coverings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers considerations to event planners and administrators who are planning meetings. These enhancements are in collaboration with state and local health officials and should be adjusted to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community due to the varying level of virus circulation in communities.
In addition to these guidelines, the Beckley Raleigh County area conference facilities have issued their own precautions and protocols for meetings to mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among workers and attendees.
Black Knight Country Club
The Black Knight Country Club has updated their meeting areas to ensure the safety of their attendees. Tables are socially-distanced with fewer people at each table and tablecloths are no longer being used.
“Our meeting area is a couple thousand square feet, and we have podiums and microphones available so people can spread out but still hear the speaker,” Leslie Baker, director of parks and recreation for the city of Beckley says.
Tables, restrooms and other common areas are being extensively cleaned before and after meetings. If your meeting requires food, the venue will provide individually packaged meals that are served by employees wearing masks, shields and gloves. Visit the Black Knight Country Club’s Facebook page for more information on current policies.
On top of the state mandates, the staff at Tamarack Conference Center have been trained to maintain a high standard of cleanliness. Guests are required to wear masks and encouraged to practice social distancing when possible. The staff also offers hand sanitizer to all Tamarack guests. Clients looking to host a meeting at the Tamarack Conference Center will work in partnership with the staff to maintain the same standards of safety.
“In the past we would host up to 350 guests for a wedding in 6,000 square feet of space,” Jenny Phillips, director of food and beverage at Tamarack, says. “Now, we are limited to gatherings of 75 in the same amount of space.”
Recent updates to the conference center’s indoor meeting spaces include upgraded technology with PC and Apple compatibility for in-person or virtual meetings. As restrictions and regulations may change, the Tamarack Conference Center is currently reserving dates for future bookings for 2021 and 2022.
The Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center
The Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center offers plenty of space to spread out during your meetings. The arena is currently limited to a 25 percent capacity per health department requirements. According to general manager Andrea Akers, the convention center has installed plexiglass in front of their concession stand areas, signage regarding social distancing guidelines and additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the building. New hard surface tables have also recently been purchased and are sanitized before and after events.
Guests must maintain social distancing requirements in all conference rooms and must be wearing a face covering when not seated in their socially distant locations.
“For example, if eating at a banquet table, they may remove their mask when seated, but they must replace it to go to the restrooms,” Akers explains.
As for the convention center team members, everyone is required to wear face coverings and undergo a temperature check when they report to work. Visit their website for more information.
The Resort at Glade Springs
The Resort at Glade Springs is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of all guests and associates. The resort asks all attendees to practice safe distancing among other guests and associates and bring their own masks, gloves, sanitizer and wipes to ensure their own level of comfort. There are also sanitizing stations available throughout the public areas of the resort. Public areas and high-touch areas are continually disinfected daily with cleaning solutions and UV lights.
The conference rooms at the resort are currently at 50 percent capacity.
“What is safe about Glade is that we have a lot of conference space to spread everyone out,” Sarah Osborne, sales manager at The Resort at Glade Springs says. “For example, we can have a group of 20 people with one person per table, and tables can be six feet apart.”
Everything that is used during the meeting including audio and visual equipment is sanitized afterward. Additionally, if your meeting includes breakfast, guests can enjoy a plated meal that is served to them rather than the previous buffet style breakfast options. For more information on the resort’s current protocols, visit the website.
If you are planning to host a meeting in the Beckley area in the future, please visit your venue’s website before your event for its up-to-date safety procedures.