Meet Confidently in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is Open for Meetings!Updated: 6/22/2021
It’s time to start planning your Grand Rapids event – all remaining COVID-19 limitations were lifted on June 22, per the Recession of Emergency Orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
There are no more state-mandated face mask or social distancing requirements, no capacity or operating-hour limits, and no regulations for either indoor or outdoor events. At this point, any social gathering guidelines will be at the discretion of each hosting venue – and, of course, you are free to set any requirements you wish for your meeting.
Our tourism and hospitality sectors have spent the last 15+ months preparing for this day, and we are ready to hit the ground running to help you plan a successful event. Reach out to the Experience Grand Rapids sales and service team to get started!
Following are the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting from meeting planners. Contact us if your question is not answered here.
Meetings in Grand Rapids:
What is the current status of holding a meeting or event in Grand Rapids?
As of June 1, non-residential gatherings are allowed up to 50% of a venue’s capacity. Individuals not fully vaccinated must wear a mask. All outdoor capacity limits are lifted.
Is/was your convention center operating as a COVID-19 testing facility or field hospital?
No. DeVos Place Convention Center was used as a vaccine clinic from January 25 through May 21, administering more than 200,000 vaccine doses. The clinic took advantage of the upgrades the convention center implemented during 2020, including new air walls, lighting and other safety technologies that will benefit meetings and events going forward.
What kind of safety technologies have been implemented by your convention center?
DeVos Place convention center, managed by ASM Global, has used this downtime to install new air walls, touchless faucets, lighting and other safety technologies. ASM Global has launched a new environmental hygiene protocol, called VenueShield, in response to evolving guest expectations stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Can you help help me plan a hybrid meeting?
The meeting environment is changing rapidly with highly technical hybrid events in demand. We can connect you with our trusted, experienced partners who will help you produce successful hybrid meetings.
Do your hotels and venues have the capability to livestream or record presentations if I want to host a hybrid event?
Many of the hotels in Grand Rapids offer this capability to ensure that you can reach virtual attendees in a professional and compelling way. Click here for a look at how we are getting ready to serve you in the future .
Can you help me ease the fears of attendees who are reluctant to attend in-person events?
Our convention services team would be happy to brainstorm ideas with you. Examples include:
- Custom promotional microsite
- Blog posts
- Updated imagery
- Digital and printed promotional collateral
- Videos of outdoor, socially distanced activities.
Can you help me acquire Personal Protection Equipment for my event attendees?
Click here for a list of local vendors who can assist you with your PPE needs.
What socially distanced activities are available for attendees to do in their free time?
Just a few examples:
- Social Zones have transformed streets, sidewalks, parks, and parking lots into outdoor marketplaces for dining, drinking, shopping, exercising, and more.
- Downtown’s spacious Rosa Parks Circle hosts a range of outdoor events, including concerts and food truck rallies.
- Downtown walking tours – guided or self-guided – cover such topics as art, history, and culture. Enter a walking tour in the “Search by name” box on our Events page.
- Bike, hike, fish, canoe, kayak and visit dozens of parks in the Grand Outdoors – there’s plenty of space to social distance.
- 30+ excellent golf courses within 30 minutes of downtown are open for socially distanced business.
- Both Lake Michigan beaches and inland beaches like Millennium Park, Myers Lake, and Wabasis Lake are open.
Who do I contact with additional questions and/or concerns?
The Experience Grand Rapids sales and services team is happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding your upcoming event.
Grand Rapids Travel Updates:
What is the vaccination rate for Grand Rapids/Kent County?
52.8% of Kent County residents were fully vaccinated as of May 23. That compared to a statewide rate of 47.8%. You can check the progress of local vaccination rates at the West Michigan Vaccine Dashboard. Just click on Kent in the second table.
Are masks required in Grand Rapids?
The Department of Health and Human Services has issued an updated epidemic order -- Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others. Local governments, workplaces and other businesses may still require everyone to wear masks if they deem it safer for visitors, customers and employees. After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire. Click here for more information.View More Details
Is it safe to travel to Grand Rapids during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The state of Michigan experienced a significant COVID-19 infection rate earlier this year but the daily rate has decreased substantially. As of May 21, Michigan ranked in the lower half of states for the rate of coronavirus cases. As of May 21, 52.8% of Grand Rapids/Kent County residents had received at least one dose. Check this dashboard for continually updated vaccination numbers. Check this dashboard for continually updated vaccination numbers.
In addition to vaccinations, Michigan continues to follow U.S. Centers for Disease guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing and sanitation. Grand Rapids has long been recognized for its cleanliness and safety. Now, we’re doing even more to combat COVID-19. For example, Downtown Ambassadors are continuously sanitizing parking meters, benches, railings and trash containers throughout downtown.
Air passengers will discover that the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is at the forefront of health and safety innovation. The airport launched a “Fly Safe. Fly Ford.” campaign to restore confidence in air travel and educate visitors about new cleaning and safety protocols – such as a Large Area Autonomous Disinfecting Vehicle (LAAD) that roams the facility dispensing FDA-approved disinfecting solution on high-contact surfaces. GRR is the first airport in the world to implement this technology. It’s also the first airport in Michigan to earn the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ STAR™ Facility Accreditation status from the ISSA — the worldwide cleaning industry association.
In addition to these airport safety measures, the airlines serving GRR have instituted new health and sanitation procedures. Please check airline websites for details.
Local airport officials and other entities serving the public continue to work closely with county, state and federal emergency management, public health, and organizational partners to monitor the impacts of COVID-19.
Are there any restrictions regarding travel to Grand Rapids?
Currently, there are no restrictions on travel within the domestic U.S. Information on international travel can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
How do I travel to Grand Rapids?
Fly: The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is served by six airlines offering nonstop flights to/from more than 30 major market destinations. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has earned the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ STAR™ Facility Accreditation status from the ISSA — the worldwide cleaning industry association — becoming the first airport in Michigan to do so.
Drive: Grand Rapids is within a few hours’ drive of Michigan’s major population areas and many of the Midwest’s largest cities:
• Lansing: 68 miles
• Ann Arbor: 132 miles
• Traverse City: 142 miles
• Detroit: 154 miles
• Chicago: 175 miles
• Indianapolis: 290 miles
• Milwaukee: 264 miles
• St. Louis: 442 miles
Train: Amtrak provides daily rail service between Chicago and Grand Rapids and is operating during COVID-19.
Public Transportation: One of the nation's best public transportation systems offers several free routes throughout downtown Grand Rapids.
Ride Share: Lyft, Uber, Steady Fare, and taxi service are among the options for getting a ride. All have implemented their own health and safety procedures in response to COVID-19
What safety guidelines are restaurants following?
The Kent County Health Department has developed very specific health and safety guidelines for foodservice businesses to follow, building on advice and input from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Restaurant Association, Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, and West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition.
Many local restaurants have signed on to the Michigan Restaurant Promise, which spells out their commitment to guests—including daily staff wellness checks, spacing tables at least six feet apart, implementing CDC-approved cleaning and sanitizing protocols, and more. In return, these eateries request that guests adhere to certain safety measures, including staying home if you feel sick, wearing a face mask when not at your table, and maintaining proper social distance. Click here for a list of Michigan Restaurant Promise members.
Where can I find the latest travel updates for Grand Rapids and the U.S.?
Where can I get more information relating to COVID-19 health and safety?
Following is a list of excellent resources for meeting and event professionals:
- State of Michigan Coronavirus Website
- State of Michigan Safe Start Map
- State of Michigan Plan for Re-Opening
- Michigan Society of Association Executives Safe Meetings in Michigan Guidebook
- Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association
- State of Michigan Executive Orders
- State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity
- Michigan Economic Development Corporation
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- World Health Organization
- US Department of Travel
More information from other trusted partners in the industry include:
What's Open in Grand Rapids:
What is open for business in Grand Rapids?
Almost everything! The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order effective March 5 permitting businesses to open unless they cannot consistently adhere to masking and social distancing guidelines. Most businesses are subject to occupancy limits. We have worked with our attractions, hotels, restaurants and other businesses to incorporate these guidelines, promote regular and thorough sanitation, and develop additional ways to stay healthy. We advise you to check the website or social media channels of any business you wish to visit or engage for details on their hours, capacity limits and safety protocols. We look forward to welcoming meeting and event attendees back to Grand Rapids, with a reminder that these state rules are in effect:
- From June 1 through June 30, individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear face masks in all enclosed public spaces. Masks can be removed for eating and drinking, when seated at a table.
- Social distancing of at least six feet is required indoors for those not fully vaccinated. (Members of the same household are exempt from this requirement.)
- All mask mandates and distancing requirements expire July 1, but individual businesses may set their own policies.
Are Grand Rapids hotels open?
Hotels are open and ready to serve guests traveling to the area. Please check with the hotel for the availability of specific amenities, including meeting space. Attendance at indoor gatherings is currently limited to 25 people. Indoor hotel pools are limited to 30% capacity. A safe guest experience is a top priority, and best practices for cleaning and sanitation are being implemented to minimize the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Contact the hotel directly for a list of specific sanitation and cleaning procedures.
Are restaurants open for dining?
Restaurants, breweries, distilleries, cideries and coffeehouses and other food & drink establishments are permitted to open for indoor dining. Guest count cannot exceed 50% of occupancy limits, or 100 persons, whichever is less. Indoor dining must close between 11pm and 4am. Many restaurants are equipped for outdoor dining and carryout/delivery service. We advise you to check with an establishment directly to confirm hours of operation, reservation requirements, takeout services and outdoor dining availability.View More Details
Do restaurants offer carryout and delivery options?
Yes. Many eateries expanded their takeout operations when in-person dining was restricted, and they continue to offer this service as a convenience to customers. Search our carryout/delivery listings for restaurants throughout the region.
Are Grand Rapids attractions open for visitors?
Yes, many are open now, including:
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
- Grand Rapids Art Museum
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
- John Ball Zoo is closed for the season
Most others are opening very soon. Search our attractions and be sure to check their open status and hours of operation.View More Details
What is the shopping situation in Grand Rapids?
All retail stores can now operate at 50% customer capacity. All malls are open, as are most national stand-alone retailers and local shops. Search our retail listings by merchandise category and neighborhood, and check with individual stores to confirm hours.View More Details
Be assured that the health and safety of meeting and convention attendees remains a paramount concern. We continue to track state and federal COVID-19 updates, and can work with you to plan the safest possible event. Please check our travel updates for additional visitor tips and safety guidelines. Together, we can ensure that you can travel confidently.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice - nor does it represent the official perspective of any of the organizations listed above; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.
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Dream Grand and Go
We invite you to Dream Grand with us! We miss all of you and want you to dream about your future visit to the Grand Rapids area. Share memories and photos with us on social channels of your favorite experiences in the Grand Rapids area to inspire travel when you're ready to go. Tag #DreamGrand on social for us to see and reshare!