Pueblo's Convention Center ready for events, gearing up for bridal expo after reopening
Staff at the Pueblo Convention Center are ready to host weddings and other events, and they are even eyeing some holiday gatherings after Pueblo County moved to less restrictive safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The convention center, 320 Central Main St., reopened Monday after being closed most of November and December. The reopening was made possible by Pueblo County’s move from state health department’s level red classification to level orange on the state's COVID-19 dial. This allows for gatherings of up to 50 people per room.
“We are excited to be open again,” said Nick Palmiotti, director of sales and marketing.
The convention center was able to host quite a few events between July and October and “got into a pretty good rhythm,” said Kevin Ortiz, general manager. “Obviously (the pandemic) is not an ideal situation for the event industry in its entirety, but we figured out how to make lemonade out of lemons.”
The convention center made its kitchen available to the Senior Resource Development Agency for its Meals on Wheels program so volunteers could get food out to people in need. The center staff also partnered with Pueblo County in an effort to bolster the Support Pueblo Initiative, which allowed residents to shop locally online and then visit the convention center to pick up their purchases.
“We basically reinvented ourselves,” Ortiz said. “We came up with a reopening plan and from July through December, we had no active positive COVID cases linked back to the convention center.
We are extremely proud of our safety measures and the execution of the protocol by our team,” Ortiz said.
Palmiotti said the convention center has a goal of making employee and guest safety a top priority.
“We adjusted all our floor plans, and our servers wear gloves and masks at all times. We want people to feel safe because we, as a convention center staff, put that at the top of the list,” Palmiotti said.
New cleaning and sanitization equipment is in use, and staff are regularly wiping down commonly used areas such as door knobs.
Ortiz believes people are “itching to get back out and have face to face time.” The convention center has more than 45,000 square feet of space, so events that draw more than 50 people can be split into multiple rooms to accommodate distancing protocol.
Private events such as banquets, fundraisers, meetings, conferences and weddings are being booked. The convention center will not be hosting the Pueblo Home Show on Jan. 15-17 as hoped, but, “we are talking around the idea of a Valentine's Day event in February,” Ortiz said.
Palmiotti said other public events in the works are a March Bridal Expo, an Easter Brunch in April and a Mother's Day Brunch in May.
“We are prepared and ready to go,” Palmiotti said.
To book the convention center for an event, call 542-1100 or log onto puebloconventioncenter.com. Spectra Venue Management oversees rentals at the convention center as well as Pueblo Memorial Hall.
Chieftain reporter Tracy Harmon covers business and Fremont County news can be reached by email at email@example.com or via Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.