Athens Convention Center Repurposes Staff to Combat COVID-19

Displaced convention center employees assist in helping combat COVID-19 in Athens, Georgia.

Athens Convention Center Repurposes Staff to Combat COVID-19

One of the most severe downsides of COVID-19 is that the pandemic has forced DMOs and venues to furlough or lay off significant amounts of staff. One silver lining is the cause of the gloom is also allowing organizations to keep employees working and paid.

Among those repurposing employees is The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia. Classic Center Authority President and CEO Paul Cramer, like many of his counterparts, was faced with the devastating realization that he must lay off a number of his full- and part-time staff. But by working with state and local officials, including the Athens Chamber of Commerce, he was able to deploy 40 workers to create sanitation stations while the facility was turned into an assembly factory.

Byo Planet International, the leading manufacturer of electrostatic spray equipment, provided the expertise for putting the stations together.

Cramer says he is “thankful for the opportunity to use our facility in a way that benefits Athens, our country and our staff. This collaboration will provide a home base in the city fighting against this virus. Athens has long been unique in terms of identity and community. Now, we must continue to stand together.”  

The stations are part of a broader effort for the convention center to assist the city, home of the University of Georgia, in these trying times. The same task force behind the sanitation work has developed a virtual Battle of the Bands, aired each Thursday on YouTube. Donations go toward the Athens Area Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund.