Safe events have a positive economic impact – Monterey Herald


A year after the pandemic postponed many annual events, large gatherings in Monterey County are rebounding. Thanks to safety protocols and an almost 70% vaccination rate among county residents over the age of 12 (as of the end of September), groups come together safely and grow the local economy.

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Monterey Jazz Festival and TEDMonterey have enjoyed success in recent months, and the 2021 Monterey County Fair saw a 17% increase in paid attendance from 2019.

“Our salespeople, artists and exhibitors are like a family that meets once a year. Everyone was excited to be back, ”said Kelly Violini, CEO of the Monterey County Fair.

Organizers have ensured the safety of guests by improving cleaning protocols and requiring indoor masks for unvaccinated participants. The California Governor’s Emergency Services Office provided 10,000 free masks that DLI and ROTC volunteers handed out at the gates of the fairs. A free day for seniors, veterans and the military invited festival-goers to enjoy events during off-peak hours.

Teams from the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Blue Zones Project, Marina Lions Club, Monterey Bay Veterans, Zone 4-H and FFA Sections and other organizations raised funds while serving participants.

“Local nonprofits have lost significant fundraisers over the past 18 months. Whether they were working for us or selling food on site, it was nice to see them enjoy this year’s fair, ”says Violini.

Strict protocols helped WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca reopen for track rental in June 2020, and the track has safely accommodated a total of 80,000 spectators at five 2021 events. Indoor masking is required in the event. county-owned facility, while distancing, masking and security measures are encouraged on the 500 acres of land.

“We’ve worked hard to achieve this, setting protocols that protect staff, guests and community members,” said John Narigi, president and CEO of the track. “You will see successes like this in the business world, and in particular in the hospitality industry. “

Colleagues in the agriculture industry, the Monterey County Supervisory Board and other government officials have also worked diligently to promote vaccinations and safety measures throughout Monterey County.

“This intersectoral and community effort is making all the difference. By working together on what’s important, we help keep everyone safe, ”says Chris Sommers, General Manager of Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.

His Cannery Row property has achieved several nationally recognized health and safety certifications over the past year. By checking for evidence of vaccination or negative test results, meeting planners create a safe and controlled environment for events held at the hotel.

Successful group gatherings mean more jobs for residents, along with increased tax and tourism revenue that leaves a lighter footprint.

“Group travelers have an agenda. We know when they’re in town and we know they’re spending in local businesses. They visit the wine country, the track and other attractions by bus, thus minimizing the impact on traffic. And the organizers are protecting everyone by confirming vaccinations and negative tests, ”says Sommers. “Overall, these major meetings and events are safe and smart and are the right kind of tourism for Monterey County.”

The Monterey County Hospitality Association ( is the trade association serving the local tourism industry with employee awareness, education and recognition programs. Janine Chicourrat, General Manager of Portola Hotel & Spa and Chair of the Board of Directors of MCHA 2021, can be contacted at [email protected]

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