The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau recently met with meeting planners via Zoom to discuss meeting planning during COVID-19. Afterwards, a survey was sent out to planners resulting in several great questions regarding safely holding meetings during COVID-19. Below you’ll find information and resources for holding a safe event in Columbia.
Information regarding the current health order in place for Columbia/Boone Countyopens PDF file is continuously updated. The current public health order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. March 4, 2021.
Conference Properties and Contact Information
Holiday Inn East
Lorie Jaegers, Sales (573) 474-4444
Holiday Inn East Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file
Holiday Inn Executive Center
Dave Duncan, Sales (573) 445-8531
Holiday Inn Exec Social Distance Capacityopens PDF file
Note: Restaurants/bars are still open within hotels and open to the public, but hours are subject to hotel policies and adherence to the current health orderopens PDF file .
Process for Submitting an Operational Plan to Host a Meeting/Conference to the Health Department
Under the Current Public Health Orderopens PDF file , any business, entity, large venue, event or public gathering facing unique circumstances not specifically addressed in this Order or seeking to accommodate in excess of the limitations specified may submit a proposed Operational Plan for review and conditional approval by Public Health and Human Services (PHHS).
Please submit your plan using this form.
Please allow 7-10 business days for a response regarding your plan. Since operational plans typically require multiple drafts before approval, we recommend submitting an operational plan no later than 14 days prior to the event. When you submit a plan, it is in the queue for review and Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) will do their best to review it as soon as possible.
Examples of general COVID mitigation strategies in a conference setting
- Offering virtual option in addition to in-person
- Simulcasting- a meeting planner broadcasting their content onto hotel guest rooms.
- Electronic check-in with iPads and self-service name tag printing
- All doors to meeting rooms propped open to eliminate common touch points on door handles. Each room has a separate entry/exit door to promote one-way traffic flow
- Use of a quick and easy 6ft marker (pole, length of wood, etc.) to check adequate distancing between tables/seats
- Plexiglass dividers to go on the registration tables to provide a barrier between staff and attendee registering
- Staggered registration times for attendees
- Encourage attendees staying at the hotel to return to their guestroom to use the restroom during break times to eliminate congestion at shared restrooms
- Encourage participants to eat lunch outside; provide a take-a-way boxed lunch
- Replace big annual awards banquets with celebrations of smaller group dinners, a hype video, and a virtual reveal of awards and raffle prizes
- Conferences with exhibition halls:
- One-way traffic, spread out aisles
- Only two exhibitors per booth, limiting # of people in exhibit area at one time
- View exhibits in shifts; half of people view exhibits during a time frame, then flip
- Stickers at each table indicating where to stop and where to move forward
- Meeting and event-specific protocols:
- Floor stickers marking social distancing
- Spreading out registration desks, only 1 person per table
- Eliminate the need for people to come to a registration area–send out info ahead of conference so they don’t have to wait in line
- Questionnaires at registration tables to check for symptoms
- Meeting room setup and break dismissal procedures:
- All rooms set with 6-foot distancing between tables
- Make diagrams and secure agendas beforehand to facilitate planning
- One-way traffic flow in rooms
- Microphones and podiums–Lysol wipes provided to disinfect between speakers, or make sure speakers have individual microphones that are not shared
- If multiple groups in house, make sure not taking breaks at the same time
- Food and beverage:
- Avoid table linens
- All food individually wrapped, no large quantities
- No shared utensils
- Bottled beverages
- Dismissing groups by table for breaks
- Shifts for a meal – example: a team’s offense comes down to eat at 6p, defense comes down at 7p.
- Food Trucks for outdoor meals
Social Distanced Activities and Attractions for Event Attendees
If you’re looking for socially distanced activities to keep your event attendees entertained, we’ve got you covered! Columbia offers plenty of opportunities to have fun safely during COVID-19.
Lovers of the great outdoors will enjoy checking out the sites featured on our Nature Checklist.opens PDF file
Build a pre-designed wood project with your group at Sawdust Studios.
For more information on services for your meeting or conference, please contact:
|Beth Mead |
Tourism Sales Supervisor
573-441-5577 or Beth.Mead@CoMo.govcreate new email
|Terra Crane |
Tourism Sales Manager
573-441-5576 or Terra.Crane@CoMo.govcreate new email