Milwaukee’s Convention Center Becomes Primary COVID-19 Vaccination Site
Wisconsin Center provides pandemic-era service to the community
MILWAUKEE - (Jan. 19, 2021) – Last summer, the Wisconsin Center was the home-base of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Last fall, the convention center became the location of vote recounts during Milwaukee County’s presidential election recount. Today, the Wisconsin Center has become a different kind of base serving as the City of Milwaukee’s primary COVID-19 vaccination site.
Milwaukee’s frontline healthcare workers and other emergency responders are currently receiving vaccinations at the Wisconsin Center. The Milwaukee Health Department then plans to start vaccinating police officers and fire personnel followed by other essential workers, such as teachers. The convention center will continue to serve as Milwaukee’s primary COVID-19 vaccination site and is contracted by the City of Milwaukee through at least May 1, 2021 for this initiative.
“The City of Milwaukee recognized not only our above-and-beyond COVID-19 readiness, but also our value as a versatile venue and collective of experienced event staff,” said Marty Brooks, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Center District. “The work we do and have done for more than two decades makes us an ideal venue and partner to coordinate and manage the facilitation of such a large-scale initiative.”
Early on in the pandemic, the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) enhanced its facilities’ safety, instituting COVID-19 readiness guidelines for staff and visitors. And in October 2020, the WCD announced all three of its facilities achieved GBAC STAR™ Accreditation, which recognizes the stringent protocols in place for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.
The very aspects that make the Wisconsin Center a world-class event venue also prove beneficial for the City of Milwaukee’s vaccination initiative. Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee with a large parking lot, the convention center has a convenient location, and provides an easy, accessible option for those distributing and receiving the vaccine. Additionally, the WCD COVID-19 guidelines ensure the safety of everyone by enforcing temperature checks upon entering the building, mask requirements, sanitation between visitors, and usage of the building’s high-frequency air circulation.
With nearly 300,000 square-feet of space, the Wisconsin Center offers ample options for social distancing and its flexible layout provides built-in capability for sectioning off areas as well as controlling crowds. Dedicated staff are constantly cleaning and sanitizing as visitors and staff make their way through the facility. Additionally, the heightened security practices and considerations in place during the Democratic National Convention and other high-profile events at the Wisconsin Center now continue to keep the people and materials used during vaccinations secure.
“I’d like to acknowledge the work of the Wisconsin Center staff for making the process of vaccination setup seamless,” said Nick Tomaro, public health emergency response planning coordinator for the Milwaukee Health Department. “The Wisconsin Center’s GBAC-accredited cleaning and sanitization standards, centralized location, and expert event staff have created an ideal scenario for our team to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.”
As the pandemic keeps many tourism and event facilities closed or under-utilized, the Wisconsin Center serves as a shining example of how such sites find new life and purpose by providing a valuable community service.
About the Wisconsin Center
The Wisconsin Center, located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, is the hub of convention business in Wisconsin and is ideal for trade and consumer shows, conventions, banquets, business meetings, and celebrations. Currently, the Wisconsin Center offers 188,695 square feet of contiguous exposition space and 37,500 square feet of ballroom space, accommodating up to 1,000 vendors and 10,000 guests. More intimate spaces are also available for groups as small as ten.
In 2021, the Wisconsin Center will begin undergoing a $420 million expansion, which will double the size of the convention center space. This will allow the WCD to host multiple events simultaneously and offer flexible space arrangements to meet various clients’ needs. The expansion is expected to be completed and open for business in Q1 2024. The Wisconsin Center is owned and operated by the Wisconsin Center District and is experience-obsessed and dedicated to providing unforgettable, buzzworthy moments for all clients and guests. For more information and to book an event, visit wisconsincenter.com.
About VISIT Milwaukee
VISIT Milwaukee is the Greater Milwaukee area’s convention and visitors bureau, marketing the destination as a top choice for business, convention, and leisure travel to national and international visitors in order to increase the economic impact of tourism in the region. Each year, tourism supports over 52,300 full-time jobs and brings more than $5.9 billion to the community. VISIT Milwaukee has over 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services, and area businesses. The Wisconsin Center District and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call (800) 554-1448 or visit www.visitmilwaukee.org.