The lights are on at Québec City Convention Centre. And with plans to host its first event since March 2020, the iconic venue is going great lengths to keep guests and staff safe in the age of COVID-19.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we developed solutions to come back even stronger with safe, comprehensive event services for our clientele and staff,” says Pierre-Michel Bouchard, President and CEO of the Québec City Convention Centre. “A lot of work has been carried out to accomplish everything we set out to do in just a few short months. We are proud to be ready to host events as of July 2020.”
Bouchard’s team has been far from idle since the pandemic put the venue’s operations on hold. That includes the facility’s cleaning staff, which have been working behind the scenes with management and their maintenance partners at GDI Services aux immeubles to implement enhanced infection prevention measures for everyone who walks through their doors. Their efforts have led to the Centre’s new COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan, which was recently approved by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec [INSPQ], Québec leading health authority.
Based on the Centre’s existing Health and Safety Plan, this new strategy leverages the venue’s partnerships, cleaning staff experience, and the latest COVID-19 health and safety guidelines to inform new and improved sanitary measures. Highlights include:
- Hygienic upgrades, including mobile sanitizer gel stations throughout the venue, touchless technologies (e.g., automatic door openers, cashless systems, automatic drinking fountains, etc.), mandatory hand-washing stations, and a constant supply of fresh air produced with 12-plus air exchanges an hour.
- Socially-distanced spaces, including newly configured meeting spaces, lobbies, and other common areas.
- Enhanced infection prevention, via advanced staff and guest screening measures, enhanced cleaning procedures (e.g., electrostatic spraying of meeting rooms, ultraviolet disinfection, etc.), new health and safety signage, constant online updates, revised control processes for external suppliers, and a dedicated containment area for anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
- Redesigned food and beverage services, such as the elimination of self-serve food stations, enhanced kitchen cleaning guidelines, and Escoffier service with ready-made meals designed to limit the handling of instruments, food, and line-ups.
- Hybrid presentation solutions, including digital/virtual presentation options for guests who prefer to attend events remotely.
- Continuous cleaning, performed by GDI services around the clock using the latest COVID-19 tools, resources, and protocols.
“Establishing high standards of cleanliness and ensuring a healthy environment has always been part of the Québec City Convention Centre’s quality criteria,” the venue states on its dedicated cleaning website. “For our technical cleaning experts at GDI, during COVID-19, the objective is ‘not only to clean for appearances, but to clean for health.'”
Growing from experience
The Québec City Convention Centre is no stranger to meeting strict health and safety mandates. In March 2019, the Centre served as the athlete’s village for the 54th Final of the Québec Games, a nine-day event which required a top-to-bottom conversion to keep over 3,300 competitors and their coaches in peak performing condition.
“This was the first time in our event’s history that all athletes and coaches slept, ate, and enjoyed free time at the same place,” said Martial Derome, Event Coordinator for the games. “It was a monumental project from the get-go.”
No doubt, says Marc Poirier, Director Building Management and Event Support at the Québec City Convention Centre, the sporting event helped the venue fine-tune its health and safety protocols and prepare for future events like COVID-19: “Our partners, suppliers, employees—and especially our sanitation team—worked exceptionally well to prevent health issues and keep attendees safe. We’re ready for post-pandemic events.”