February 17, 2021

Clean + Safe Certified Meetings

Hotels and resorts in Santa Cruz County have been hard at work to ensure meeting attendees in Santa Cruz County are safe in 2021 while enjoying coastal views, redwood forests, and other after-work natural amenities (boutique winery visits count too!) Since the start of the pandemic, Visit Santa Cruz County has ensured that meeting hotels and resorts have access to the California Hotel + Lodging Association’s Clean + Safe Guidance. This method of standardizing the best sanitation, cleanliness, and health practices for the industry is the first of its kind on a statewide basis and has extended to the meetings market, helping meeting attendees rest easy, knowing that the maximum cleanliness and safety practices are being employed for guests and hotel staff. 

The full program includes a checklist of protocols for properly protecting guests, staff, and property. After meeting the requirements, a hotel receives a decal of compliance that can be prominently displayed in strategic locations throughout the property to reassure guests that safety and sanitation measures have been met. Conference and meeting properties are also implementing Personal Protective Equipment and safety practices. 

Here is a recap of just some of the ways Santa Cruz County hotels and resorts are taking meetings and conferences into consideration when implementing safety practices in 2021:


  • Electronic advance registration and contactless event check-in
  • Moderating traffic flow by staggering start/ break times;
  • Longer break times allow conference staff to refresh and clean meeting rooms between sessions, enabling attendees to go to their guest rooms for restroom breaks.
  • Leverage technology for hybrid meetings.
  • Utilize multiple meeting rooms for a single meeting with technology to ensure physical distancing.
  • Encourage same seating over multiple days.
  • Rotate presenters and speakers to limit attendee movement.


  • Consideration of staggered registration hours.
  • Registration desks, kiosks, or tables are to be one person per six feet.
  • Consideration of distributing registration materials in advance of the meeting/event.  Encourage limited single-use materials such as name tags and other registration materials where practical.
  • Consideration of placement of meeting materials at attendees’ seats prior to arrival.

Cleaning Protocols

  • Meeting rooms tables and chairs cleaned and sanitized prior to each new set up.
  • Service equipment frequently touched common surfaces and high-touch areas sanitized or disinfected during the event and after each use.
  • Strict adherence to wearing gloves when setting up tables and preparing all attendee touchpoints (e.g. glassware, roll-ups, etc.) and when refreshing event areas and meeting rooms.
  • Cleaning schedules increased for common areas and high-contact touchpoints such as doors, escalator railings, and elevators.

Meeting Protocols

  • Reorganize areas to allow for social distancing, limit traffic to one-direction and establish transparent barriers where physical distancing may be challenging.
  • Outdoor activities – Consider outdoor meetings whenever possible. Outdoor areas can provide additional spacing during breaks.
  • Consider meeting and event set-up or design to allow for areas that can be open to the outside.
  • Multi-use items such as notepads, pens, and candies are individually wrapped and presented or discontinued.
  • Specific floor plans, which should always take physical distancing (six feet of spacing) into consideration between attendees:
    • Classroom
      • One person per six-foot table or two people, if seating is at opposite sides of the table.
      • Six feet between the front and back of each chair.
      • Minimum of eight feet circulation areas.
      • Attendees face the same direction.
    • Theater
      • One chair per six feet of seating.
      • Minimum of eight-foot circulation areas.
      • Attendees face the same direction.
    • Rounds
      • Six-foot rounds and four chairs per round.
      • Six-foot aisles between chairs.
      • Minimum of eight feet circulation areas.


  • Attendant-served individually plated meals.
  • Attendant-served receptions and/or breaks.
  • Single-use, individually sealed food and beverage items served as practical. Encourage pre-packaged and preset menu options
  • Use of non-cash or contactless transactions, including room charges, to reduce contact levels for any food and beverage service requiring payment.

Vendors and Contractors

  • Vendors coming into direct contact with guests are required to wear PPE while on property.
  • All equipment is to be sanitized before entering the hotel/venue.
  • Where feasible, consider not having high-touch equipment be shared.
  • If shared, high-touch equipment such as microphones, clickers/slide advancers, laptop computers, and podiums will be disinfected after each speaker and session and on a daily basis.
  • All rented furniture or equipment will be properly sanitized after installation and prior to guest use.

As always, basic health and safety protocols such as cleaning or washing your hands, wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing, and cleaning and sanitizing personal space as much as possible is standard operating procedure these days for all of us. In addition to these practices specific to the meetings market, Visit Santa Cruz County launched a Safety Pledge last summer. This campaign is a gentle reminder to keep ourselves and those around us safe. It also shows that the hospitality industry cares about the residents, employees, and guests in our community. The Safety Pledge is a shared commitment to take necessary precautions for all of us to stay safe while following recommended public health guidelines.

We look forward to welcoming you back in 2021 – when it is safe to do so.  Until then, be sure to follow Meet in Santa Cruz on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest news and information!

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