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Fort Worth Convention Center gets thorough cleaning, new procedures in wake of COVID-19

Posted June 22, 2020

The last remnants of the temporary emergency homeless shelter are gone from the Fort Worth Convention Center and the process to cleanse and sanitize the facility has begun with the help of two of the most storied franchises in professional sports.

Fort Worth recently hired Legends Hospitality, a business venture of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Yankee Global Enterprises, owner of the New York Yankees baseball club, for help preparing the downtown Convention Center to resume regular operations, as well as developing an ongoing cleaning and sanitation program needed in the wake of COVID-19.

Michael Crum, Fort Worth’s public events director, the department that oversees the Convention Center’s operations, said he is familiar with Legends Hospitality expertise, having worked with principals of the Dallas-based consultancy while developing the city-owned Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C.

“There is a lot of concern in the convention and meetings industry about how to meet in a post-COVID environment,” Crum said. “Going the extra mile in terms of making sure that the building is as clean as it possibly can be is the piece of assurance our clients need in building their confidence in conducting their events in Fort Worth.”

Legends Hospitality says it consults with some of the biggest brands in professional and collegiate sports worldwide.

High-level sanitation techniques being used

The Fort Worth Convention Center is currently undergoing a decontamination after operating 93 nights as a temporary overflow emergency shelter for nearly 1,600 people experiencing homelessness. On average, 300 people a night ate dinner and spent the night in the arena. The shelter opened to help the city’s emergency shelters meet social distancing rules required in the novel coronavirus pandemic. The temporary shelter operated March 18 through June 18.

Fort Worth-based Ventrex Environmental Services, which performed daily cleanings of the areas used for the shelter, is now decontaminating those spaces using the highest level of cleaning and sanitation techniques available, Crum said.

“We’ll come in behind that and deep clean the entire building,” Crum said.

Because the shelter operations were also located outside around the building, Ventrex will wash the building’s exterior, he said.

Crum said his team started working with Legends prior to the shelter’s last night. Legends tested the Convention Center, and the Will Rogers Memorial Center, to determine the current level of sanitation and cleanliness.

“The testing, along with a collection of best practices in advanced cleaning and sanitation, collectively will influence what we do and how we do it,” Crum said.

Public Events is in the process of adopting an extensive set of health and safety guidelines, and will conduct employee training. The new protocols are a sweeping change in the daily operations at the facility for arena guests, convention goers and meeting planners. Changes focus on maintaining proper distancing in meeting rooms, in the arena and in ticket and concession lines.

The temporary shelter was a collaboration of several City of Fort Worth departments and numerous service agencies, including the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, JPS and the city’s emergency shelters.

The Convention Center’s first event since the facility was shuttered in March is on July 15, followed by a convention later in the month.

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