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Las Vegas Sands tests convention center safety plan with mock event

Updated October 6, 2020 - 10:11 am

Las Vegas Sands Corp. says it is ready to host trade shows — it already did.

The company said it held a mock trade show with a 296,000-square-foot, physically distanced event setup at the Sands Expo exhibit hall for Gov. Steve Sisolak and other meeting industry professionals ahead of the state finalizing its new public gathering guidelines.

The mock event, which a company spokesman said “happened over several days last month,” took visitors through the entire trade show process, from arrival and registration to exhibit halls and vendor booths. Food courts and general sessions were also staged to demonstrate the updated protocols, which include physical distancing and sanitation procedures.

Sisolak announced Sept. 29 that capacity limits would be eased to allow larger meetings and gatherings.

Up to 1K allowed

According to the new state guidelines, event organizers can apply to host as many as 1,000 attendees, as long as people are separated into groups of no more than 250 at a time in areas such as banquet halls.

“Meetings are at the heart of The Venetian Resort, and we recognize the importance of bringing meetings back in a safe and responsible way,” Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales at The Venetian and Sands Expo, said in a statement. “We support our governor’s goal for Nevada that, as we re-open for meetings, we will be open for the long term, doing so with safety and consistency in mind.”

Sands, which typically hosts large conventions such as CES, has launched several initiatives to keep attendees at meetings and trade shows safe.

In addition to testing employees for COVID-19 regularly, Sands’ staff is in a pilot program testing a “smart ring” that could potentially predict the onset of COVID-19 before symptoms emerge, as well as a digital device that can aid contact tracing efforts.

‘Shark Tank’ partnership

Over the summer, the company partnered with ABC’s “Shark Tank” to simultaneously host the TV show’s production and test the company’s new Venetian Clean meeting and trade show safety protocols.

The company was able to successfully create a bubble around the show’s production, using tools such as on-site COVID-19 testing and new food and beverage guidelines. More than two months after production began, the 1 million-square-foot-plus bubble was deemed a success with zero COVID-19 cases, according to a Tuesday news release.

Others announce plans

Other Las Vegas hotel-casinos have also announced their convention and meetings plans in light of the updated public gathering guidelines.

On Monday, the Plaza, home of downtown’s largest ballroom, announced plans to host meetings and events again with its #MaskOnMeetOn campaign. The plan includes mask-wearing, cleaning and physical distancing.

MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd. shared plans last week to bring back meetings and conventions with the help of rapid COVID-19 tests.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian and Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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