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Homeless Shelter Set To Leave San Diego Convention Center

Beds fill a homeless shelter inside the San Diego Convention Center Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in San Diego.
Gregory Bull / AP Photo
Beds fill a homeless shelter inside the San Diego Convention Center Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in San Diego.
About 700 homeless people sheltered for months at the San Diego Convention Center are scheduled to move into smaller shelters starting March 22, but officials said the spacious venue likely won't be hosting any large events in the foreseeable future.

About 700 homeless people sheltered for months at the San Diego Convention Center are scheduled to move into smaller shelters starting March 22, but officials said the spacious venue likely won't be hosting any large events in the foreseeable future.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher said there are preliminary plans to convert the convention center into a mass vaccination site.

Convention center Chief Executive Rip Rippetoe told the Union-Tribune he's still awaiting state guidance on when operations could resume at the waterfront venue. No events are booked through the first half of the year, the newspaper reported Saturday.

The temporary shelter at the convention center opened in April 2020 following concerns that city-run shelters were too crowded and could be a breeding ground for the coronavirus.

A surge of virus infections did occur at the venue in December, coinciding with a countywide surge that month. Overall, 256 temporary residents and 40 volunteers or staff members tested positive at the site, the Union-Tribune reported.

Officials said the convention center’s Shelter to Home program has been successful on many levels, including finding permanent housing for some homeless people.