BJCC hosting first large public event since the pandemic, thanks to enhanced safety measures

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BJCC
Tad Snider, Executive Director and CEO, BJCC Authority. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

This weekend, Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) is hosting its first large public event since March 2020.

Thanks to the implementation of numerous safety measures automotive fans can attend the  50th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels Auto Show.

“Last spring as facilities worldwide closed to large events in order to aid public health, our team set to work planning for resuming large events, safely,” said Tad Snider, Executive Director and CEO, BJCC Authority. “We have had eleven months to put advanced protocols and processes in place. The BJCC is prepared for this.”

Accreditation

During the pandemic, the BJCC has hosted small private corporate meetings and services for the Church of the Highlands.

To prepare for large public events, like the World of Wheels, in August 2020, the BJCC earned the STARTM Facility Accreditation on cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention, granted through the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC). 

BJCC
World of Wheels, the first large public event since the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

The GBAC STAR is the industry’s leading outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation, according to the BJCC.  The accreditation process evaluated the BJCC’s proficiency within 20 key efforts, ranging from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to PPE and response measures to combat biohazards and infectious diseases, including the novel coronavirus (SARS CoV-2). 

The BJCC was the first facility in Alabama to obtain the designation.

“We were eager to have our protocols tested and measured by 3rd party experts,” Snider continued. “The BJCC follows industry best practices. And the World of Wheels is the ideal event to see those practices at work, particularly the social distancing requirements. BJCC.

The Measures

The BJCC provided the Bham Now a list of the safety measures they have enacted.

Here are the details:

Face Coverings

Pursuant to the State of Alabama’s Public Health Order, face coverings must be worn throughout all BJCC venues.

Cleaning & Sanitation

  • Touch-free hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the facility
  • All high touch surfaces are disinfected on a continual basis by the BJCC Clean Team.
    These touch points include but are not limited to: entry doors, handrails, restrooms, trash receptacle touch points, dining tables and chairs

Social Distancing

BJCC
Bham Now’s Pat Byington with face mask at the World of Wheels. Photo via Bham Now
  • Attendees, exhibitors and staff maintain 6’ of distance
  • Capacity for all exhibit halls, ballrooms, and meeting rooms has been revised to allow for
    social distancing standards
  • Public access doors may be designated as either Entrance Only or Exit Only to limit
    traffic and personal contact
  • Floor markings onsite direct social distancing standards
  • Elevator capacity will be limited to allow for social distancing standards

Food & Beverage

  • Face covering over nose and mouth to be worn at all times by staff, exhibitors and attendees, except when eating and drinking in designated concession areas only

Onsite Communications

  •  Print and digital signage in public areas, including restrooms, reminds guests of important hygiene measures and social distancing

Attendee Protocols

BJCC
Temperature checks at BJCC entrances. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now
  • Attendees will be subject to a temperature check
  • If exhibiting symptoms, stay hme and avoid contact with other people
  • Public safety is strengthened when everyone complies with good hygiene practices

Staff & Exhibitor Protocols

  • All employees, exhibitors and promoters will wear face masks while in close proximity to attendees and guests.
  • Employees are directed to stay home when sick, and to inform Human Resources immediately if they are aware of any possible exposure to COVID-19
  • Health screening for staff and exhibitors prior to entering the building

More Large Public Events Later in 2021

Protective Stadium
A look inside Protective Stadium. Photo via BJCC

This is a big year for the BJCC with the opening of Protective Stadium in the fall and competition of the Legacy Arena expansion and renovation.

Along with keeping people safe, Snider looks forward to more events coming to the BJCC in the fall. 

“Never for a minute did we take our eye off the ball, we knew we needed to be ready. We are looking forward to what we are seeing, a period in late fall to kind of getting back to doing what we love to do, which is provide great events for the community. That’s what we are here for. We are anxious to be able to do that in the safest possible way again.”

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  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.