Learn about Orlando’s enhanced healthy-meeting measures designed to safeguard your group from the time you arrive through every step of your stay, including a pioneering medical partnership and GBAC Star Accreditation at the Orange County Convention Center (pictured) and Orlando International Airport.
With the health and safety of visitors top of mind, Orlando and Orange County are open for business travel and tourism — including the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), which in collaboration with Visit Orlando has announced a first-of-its-kind medical concierge program with Orlando Health and achieved the Global Biorisk Advisory Council's (GBAC) Star Accreditation. What’s more, Orlando International Airport (MCO) and its onsite Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport have also earned GBAC Star Accreditation.
Your group can also look forward to new and improved safety measures during every step of your next convention, meeting or event, starting with your arrival at Orlando International Airport (MCO) and continuing with our ground transportation, meeting hotels and venues, and even theme parks and attractions.
Before your next Orlando meeting, get an overview of how the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando’s meetings industry have adapted to meet today’s business-travel needs, and how we’re going above and beyond to safeguard your attendees’ peace of mind.
Recovery and Resiliency Plan at the Orange County Convention Center
For a world-class convention, you need a world-class convention center — and one that prioritizes the health and safety of your attendees, at that. With new cleanliness measures in place, Orlando’s state-of-the-art Orange County Convention Center is the perfect candidate. Developed in accordance with policy recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Orange County government, and state and federal mandates, the OCCC’s Recovery and Resiliency Plan employs a three-pronged strategy to safeguard clients, attendees and employees, including:
- Implementing the OCCC's Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines,
- GBAC Star Accreditation, and
- In partnership with Visit Orlando, collaborating with Orlando Health — a premier, established healthcare system — to create a pioneering medical concierge program.
The OCCC and Visit Orlando's collaboration with Orlando Health is the first of its kind in the convention and trade show industry. As a result of the program, Orlando Health will provide personalized medical services and resources to all meetings and conventions held at the convention center through 2020, giving convention groups direct access to medical collaboration, planning and support.
Services for conventions will include customized medical plan guidance, planner access to a medical expert, 24/7 medical concierge services through Orlando Health’s Virtual Visit, direct access to PPE for attendees, medical advisory services to the event’s host hotels and transportation vendors, and medically certified communication materials. It’s the latest example of the extraordinary regional collaborations the OCCC has in Orange County with medical partners and leisure and hospitality sectors.
Of course, GBAC STAR Accreditation is impressive in its own right, in that it provides third-party validation to ensure the implementation of rigorous sanitation protocols. It is recognized as the gold standard of safe venues, and for good reason.
Relying on the best available data, science and research, the OCCC’s Recovery and Resiliency Plan will provide an excellent road map to ramping up operations at the country’s second-largest convention center. In fact, large-scale events have already returned to the OCCC, starting with the Amateur Athletic Union’s (AAU’s) national volleyball tournament on July 14-22. More than 400 teams and 10,500 attendees participated.
On July 24, Alliance Nationwide Exposition (ANE) hosted Together Again Expo at the OCCC. This industry event provided a forum on how live events can safely move forward and get back to business as Florida enters Phase 2 of the COVID-19 recovery. Together, the AAU and ANE events underscore the Orange County Convention Center’s readiness for your meeting and event needs — and those of your attendees.
Impressed by how the Orange County Convention Center is safeguarding your group? Wait until you see how the rest of Orlando’s meetings industry is stepping up!
New Procedures & Policies at Orlando International Airport
Given its ranking as J.D. Power & Associates’ No. 1 mega airport in the southeastern U.S. for customer satisfaction, there’s no doubt that Orlando International Airport is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of its travelers and employees. It’s why they’ve developed an enhanced cleaning schedule and implemented updated security procedures from the TSA. And like the Orange County Convention Center, both MCO and they onsite Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport have achieved GBAC Star Accreditation.
Orlando International Airport has taken further steps to safeguard travelers and staff by requiring that all 22,000 badged airport employees wear facial coverings inside airport public areas. Badged personnel also maintain social distancing, as directed by the CDC, wherever practicable. MCO has also added personal protective equipment (PPE) vending machines that give the traveling public easy access to a variety of face masks, hand sanitizers and similar equipment. What’s more, Orange County has taken further steps to protect visitors and residents by requiring that everyone wear a face mask in public places, with some exceptions.
Beginning in December 2020, MCO will also offer access to an on-site COVID-19 testing clinic for travelers, the airport employee base, and the Central Florida community. The testing clinic will be located at the west end of the Main Terminal and is scheduled to be available through the end of July 2021.
Through it all, MCO and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority have worked closely with federal and local partners on COVID-19-related developments while implementing changes to maintain a safe travel environment for you and your attendees. Located less than 18 miles northeast of our convention district, Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) is also partnering with government officials and the CDC to help ensure safety. These steps have helped Orlando emerge as one of the country’s safest meeting destinations.
Please note: Effective Jan. 26, 2021, all air travelers entering the U.S. are required to produce a negative COVID-19 test prior to admittance. A negative viral test, required to be taken up-to three calendar days before arrival to the United States, is required for everyone 2 years or older.
Updated Safety Measures for Orlando’s Ground Transportation
In Orlando, enhanced safety measures continue once your meeting attendees have arrived — and that extends to our ground transportation. All modes of travel are open in Orange County, including rental cars, taxis and other transportation options from Mears, plus Lynx buses, ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft, SunRail commuter-rail service, and even the convention district’s famous I-Ride Trolley.
More importantly, our public-transportation providers are required to employ appropriate social-distancing and sanitation measures. Want to learn more about how Orlando’s “ground fleet” is keeping you safe? Use the following links for operational updates and details about their enhanced cleaning and safety measures:
- Mears Transportation Services: Operational Updates
- Destination MCO Transportation: Ride Safely With Us
- SunRail: Safety Measures
- Lynx: COVID-19 Information
- Uber: Coronavirus Health and Safety Guidance
- Lyft: Latest on COVID-19
- Enterprise: Complete Clean Pledge
- Hertz: Gold Standard Clean
- Alamo: Complete Clean Pledge
- Avis: Safety Pledge
Enhanced Cleaning Measures at Orlando Meeting Hotels & Resorts
Accommodations for every budget are open throughout Orange County — including meeting-friendly resorts in the convention district and close to Walt Disney World® Resort. In addition to offering plenty of room to spread out thanks to open vistas and reduced crowds, our meeting hotels are keeping the health and safety of you and your guests top of mind with robust cleanliness procedures that adhere to current CDC guidelines.
These enhanced cleanliness measures include Universal Orlando Resort’s Hotel Safety Protocols for Meetings & Events, Hilton CleanStay With Lysol Protection, Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, and Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean. What's more, Hilton is further raising the bar for healthy meetings and events with Hilton EventReady. These companies and many others with similar programs can be found throughout our convention and tourism districts. Read more about them on our Healthy Business Travel page.
For example, you can put Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment to the test at Hyatt Regency Orlando, a AAA Four Diamond property that’s directly connected to the OCCC via covered pedestrian walkways — and one of the country’s top 25 meeting hotels as ranked by Cvent. Here, you can create memorable events with more than 315,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, ranging from the 54,652-square-foot, pillar-free Regency Ballroom to more than 100 breakout rooms.
It affords your guests plenty of options for fun in the sun, too, including a zero-entry Grotto Pool with a water slide and waterfalls, plus the Olympic-size Terrace Pool with hot tub. Or, they can just lay about in their own private cabanas — talk about social distancing done right! When it’s time to eat, you’ll have several dining hotspots to choose from, including Urban Tide, Fiorenzo and more.
Closer to Walt Disney World Resort, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek has over 170,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including the exclusive Signature Island and the Bonnet Creek Pavilion with 10,000 square feet of covered space. It also benefits from Hilton EventReady and Hilton CleanStay With Lysol Protection, as does its adjacent sister property, Waldorf Astoria® Orlando.
Guests of Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando get access to all facilities and amenities at both resorts, including the Hilton’s 3-acre lazy river pool with water slide, Waldorf Astoria’s Rees Jones-designed golf course, and acclaimed dining and nightlife.
Another popular Disney-area meeting hotel, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, is set to begin reopening in late July with Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean. They’ve announced a 14-story, business-focused tower expansion called The Cove with more than 22,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms, 12 meeting rooms, a rooftop reception space and a 16,800-square-foot elevated deck.
When you choose the Swan and Dolphin, your attendees can also look forward to five pools (including a grotto pool with a water slide and waterfalls), a white-sand beach, jogging trails, watercraft rentals and more. Other features include 18 restaurants and lounges, and a new, impressive lobby with a contemporary feel.
Our theme parks’ official hotels are also opening up, including numerous meeting options at Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort, and more are on the way.
NBA & MLS Tournaments Showcase Orlando as a Healthy Destination
Don’t take our word that Orlando is a safe destination for in-person events — just ask the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Soccer (MLS)! In July, both kicked off league-wide tournaments exclusively held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex® at Walt Disney World® Resort, citing the destination’s enhanced safety measures and unparalleled infrastructure as leading reasons for choosing Orlando.
What’s more, both leagues went to great lengths to keep players, coaches, officials and other staff safe and healthy during their respective tournaments. Developed in conjunction with medical experts, the protocols included:
- Regular testing of players, coaches and staff before teams departed their home cities, after their arrival in Orlando and throughout the tournaments’ runs;
- On-site medical staff at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex;
- Insulating “bubbles” that required participating players, coaches and staff to stay at specific hotels either on Disney property (in the case of the NBA) or at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, which is operated by Marriott International (in the case of MLS);
- Required quarantines for any players, coaches or staff who left the “bubble” of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or their host hotels, with quarantines lasting at least 10 days; and,
- Immediate quarantines for any players, coaches or staff who tested positive at any point before or during their tournaments, with quarantines lasting until a negative test result was achieved.
Despite some positive tests during its run, the MLS Is Back Tournament finished as scheduled, with the Portland Timbers earning the championship title. Similarly, the NBA Restart is going strong and will come to a close later this year. Accordingly, both have helped prove that it’s possible to host sports games and other large, in-person events in a safe manner — especially in Orlando!
Safe Reopenings for Orlando’s Theme Parks & Attractions
Theme parks and attractions are reopening throughout Orlando — which means you’ll never run out of one-of-a-kind venues for unique meetings and offsite adventures, and your attendees will never run out of post-meeting fun. And just like our transportation providers, the OCCC and our meeting hotels, Orlando’s world-famous playgrounds are taking extra steps to help safeguard visitors.
Currently, your attendees can look forward to visiting Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld® Orlando, with Walt Disney World Resort set to reopen its theme parks starting July 11. Reservations are required at Walt Disney World and SeaWorld parks. (Disney Springs® and Universal CityWalk are also open!)
Your group can also look forward to dozens of standalone attractions, many of which are in the heart of the convention district. From the all-in-one fun at ICON Park — home to The Wheel, Orlando StarFlyer, Madame Tussauds and other options — to fast times at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games or a unique spin on a classic sport at Topgolf, endless adventures are waiting for your attendees in Orlando. Most importantly, our theme parks and attractions are putting safety first as Orlando’s meetings industry ramps up again. It all adds up to the greatest, safest destination for conventions, meetings and events of all sizes!