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San Diego Leaders Ask Gov. Newsom To Approve Convention Center Reopenings

San Diego Convention Center on Jan. 14, 2020.

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: San Diego Convention Center on Jan. 14, 2020.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Chris Cate sent a letter Friday to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to approve safe reopening guidelines for convention centers across the state, which were ordered closed in mid-March along with other large venues such as amusement parks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The San Diego Convention Center has been home to more than 1,000 San Diegans experiencing homelessness since April 1, but has otherwise been closed to events which would normally fill the venue.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the convention center hosted 143 events and 836,695 attendees, accounting for 822,528 hotel room nights, $755.3 million in direct attendee spending and $29 million in hotel and sales tax revenue, for an overall regional impact of $1.3 billion, according to Faulconer and Cate.

The SDCC has lost more than 100 events between March and December of this year, their letter says. The projected lost figures for those canceled and rescheduled events includes 671,670 hotel nights, $707.8 million in direct attendee spending and a regional impact of $1.2 billion.

"We are respectfully requesting that the governor approves the Safe Reopening Guidelines for convention centers statewide," Cate said. "These guidelines were submitted to his office in June.

"When conventions can reopen is just as critical as how they will be allowed to resume, and the state should be proactive in approving these guidelines well in advance," he said. "The world's fifth-largest economy cannot turn on a dime and this guidance has been thoughtfully developed with an emphasis on public health and safety by leaders in the industry."

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