What you need to know to visit the area.

Read More
New Trip
  • Your Trip is Empty
View My Trip ›

 

Meet Confidently in Grand Rapids

Updated: 11/17/2020

We know that you’re eager to bring groups together for face-to-face meetings and events again. We’re certainly looking forward to hosting you here in Grand Rapids – and we’re doing everything we can to prepare for your attendees’ eventual arrival. 

Experience Grand Rapids is closely monitoring news and government sources for COVID-19 updates, and we are collaborating with our local governments and hospitality community to implement necessary safety precautions. We believe this is part of being a strong destination partner. We are here for you during this trying time for the meetings and events industry, and we will work diligently with you to make your meeting or event a success when the time comes!

FAQ

Following are the most frequently asked questions we’re getting from meeting planners. If you don’t see your question answered here, please contact the Experience Grand Rapids sales and services team.

NOTE: Through December 8, we are in the midst of Michigan’s three-week “Pause to Save Lives,” which prohibits indoor gatherings and limits outdoor gatherings to 25 people maximum – 20 people per 1,000 sq. ft. for venues without fixed seating and 20% of seating capacity for venues with fixed seating.

Meetings in Grand Rapids

What is the current status of holding a meeting or event in Grand Rapids?

We are still in Phase 4 of Michigan’s COVID-19 Safe Start Plan. Indoor venues without fixed seating must limit gatherings such as conferences, banquets and weddings to no more than 50 people. Indoor gatherings with fixed seating are limited to 500 or fewer persons, and attendance must not exceed 20% of the seating capacity of the venue. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 persons per 1,000 square feet. Outdoor gatherings with fixed seating are limited to 1,000 people, and attendance must not exceed 30% of the venue’s seating capacity. All persons must wear a face mask.  Click here for more information about the Safe Start Plan.

When will Grand Rapids be permitted to host larger groups and events?

Michigan’s governor hopes to move the state into Phase 5 soon. This will allow for larger gatherings, as long as they adhere to guidelines for social distancing, face coverings and other safety precautions.

Given current restrictions, can the current capacities of Grand Rapids venues accommodate my group size?

Many Grand Rapids venues have calculated meeting room capacities and prepared floor plan diagrams based on the current guidelines. Please contact the Experience Grand Rapids sales and services team for specific information.

Is/was your convention center operating as a COVID-19 testing facility or field hospital?

Fortunately, the local incidence of COVID-19 cases did not require using DeVos Place convention center as a testing center. Instead, the Center has used this downtime to install new air walls, lighting and other safety technologies.

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 ParkMyers 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

Are masks required in Grand Rapids?

Yes, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) epidemic orders requires that face coverings be worn inside and also outside where social distancing is not possible. Click here for more information.

View More Details

Is it safe to travel to Grand Rapids during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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.

Grand Rapids, Kent County and the state of Michigan are currently experiencing a lower level of COVID-19 than many other regions. The virus hit the Detroit area of the state early and hard, prompting Michigan’s governor to “shut down” the state earlier than most. That tamped down the virus levels here in West Michigan – on the other side of the state from Detroit – and a carefully phased reopening has kept the numbers relatively stable.

Local compliance with face covering and social distancing guidelines, ubiquitous handwashing stations, a world-class healthcare system, and proactive city and county governments have thus far kept the area in relatively good straits with regards to COVID-19.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) is one example of local 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 sanitation protocols – such as utilizing a Large Area Autonomous Disinfecting Vehicle (LAAD) to roam the facility dispensing FDA-approved disinfecting solution on high-contact surfaces. GRR is the first airport in the world to implement this technology.

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 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 seven airlines offering nonstop flights to/from more than 30 major market destinations.

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.?

Check these websites for the latest information:

What's Open in Grand Rapids

What is open for business in Grand Rapids?

Almost everything! Michigan’s governor has lifted her stay-at-home order for the entire state, allowing most businesses to resume or expand operations with restrictions as outlined in the governor’s guidelines. Not all businesses are open yet – some are still in the process of implementing health and safety protocols to help protect customers and employees. If you want to know if the business you wish to visit or work with is open and what their exact protocols are, it is best to call them or visit their website or social media channels. We are working with our attractions, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses as they plan new ways to serve you, including limiting guest capacity, offering social distancing options, performing regular and thorough sanitation, and developing additional ways to stay healthy. We look forward to welcoming meeting and event attendees back to Grand Rapids, with a reminder that these state rules are in effect:

  • Masks are required in enclosed public spaces, though they can be removed for eating and drinking. Masks are also required in outdoor spaces when social distancing isn’t possible.
  • Social distancing of at least six feet is required both indoors and out. (Members of the same household are exempt from this requirement.)

Are Grand Rapids hotels open?

Hotels are ready to welcome all guests traveling to the area. Please check with the hotel for details on specific amenities availability including meeting space. Attendance allowed at indoor gatherings is 50 people so hotel meeting space can be used confidently. 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?

Restaurantsbreweriesdistilleriescideries and coffeehouses and other food & drink establishments are closed for indoor service from November 18-December 8. Guests can still take advantage of outdoor seating and carryout/delivery service. We encourage you to check with an establishment directly to confirm hours of operation, 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: 

 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

What businesses are still closed in Grand Rapids?

At this time indoor bars must remain closed by order of the governor. Movie Theaters and other performance venues will be allowed to open beginning Oct 9 with limited capacities. Other businesses may be closed at the discretion of their owners. Always check before you visit.

Be assured that the health and safety of meeting and convention attendees is our paramount concern. Thank you for your patience as we reopen the right way – carefully and deliberately, with protocols and procedures in place to protect all of us as much as possible. We look forward to hosting your next 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.

Meetings Sales Newsletter

Sign-up of for the Experience Grand Rapids meeting sales newsletter - your monthly guide to Grand Rapids and how we can help you deliver one of your most effective and memorable meetings.…

Learn More ›
Meet the Team!

Meet the team and contact us so we can help answer any questions you may have.

Learn More ›
Submit Your RFP

Ready to start planning your meeting? Let our team take the stress out of planning and help you nail down the venues, room nights and meeting spaces that fit your needs.…

Learn More ›
Find Your Facility

Search our meeting and conference spaces based on your group's needs.

Learn More ›

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!

Get Inspired: Your Future Visit Awaits