Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) has updated the safety protocols for its MennoCon21 convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 6-10, making masks optional for convention goers.
The protocols are consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Ohio, the city of Cincinnati and the Duke Energy Convention Center and reflect growing optimism, as U.S. vaccination rates continue to rise.
“We want everyone to have a wonderful convention experience,” said Scott Hartman, MC USA director of event planning. “We are proceeding with caution to relax pandemic guidelines, while also providing options for those who may not be vaccinated,” said Hartman, adding that masks and social distancing are still encouraged for those who have not been fully vaccinated.
Event planners will employ flexible floor plans to provide space for those who want to practice social distancing.
- The worship hall will be set up in two sections. The section closest to the stage will be for individuals and groups who are comfortable sitting in close proximity. The section nearer the back of the room will be for individuals and groups who are practicing social distancing. Attendees may block seats to provide extra space around themselves or their group.
- Seminar rooms will be set up for reduced capacity. Participants may practice social distancing by blocking chairs surrounding them.
- Mealtime seating allows for up to 10 seats per table but may be adapted, as desired, to accommodate fewer seats. Lunches will be served cafeteria style or plated and served to the table by the catering staff.
“We have tremendous confidence in the Duke Energy Convention Center and its high standards for guest comfort and safety,” said Hartman, who noted that the convention center was the first in the Ohio region to obtain the GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation, the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities.
Under the guidance of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of the International Sanitary Supply Association, Duke Energy Convention Center has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention in its facility. The accreditation verifies that Duke Energy Convention Center implements best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics. These protocols encompass staff and outside vendors, who are required to wear masks, participate in temperature checks and maintain the rigorous cleaning standards of the facility.
Registration is still open for both in-person and virtual attendance at MennoCon21. To book hotels and register for the hybrid event, visit: https://convention.mennoniteusa.org/registration/.
For questions or concerns about registration, please email SarahC@mennoniteusa.org.
Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 58 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana, and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org