MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Mardi Gras balls are on for this coming Carnival season, but they will get a coronavirus makeover.

ADM Global, the company that manages the Mobile Civic Center and Convention Center, informed the organizations new rules governing balls in a letter this week.

“The great news about this challenge is that our team has been working proactively for the past several months to determine ways that we can better utilize the multitude of space that the Mobile Convention Center offers to help minimize the impact on your event,” ASM Mobile General Manager Kendall Wall wrote in the letter.

Wall told FOX10 News that the company will wait until November to begin signing contracts.

“We’re pushing back our stuff,” he said.

Wall said the rules likely will impact the balls in different ways.

“Every one’s different,” he said. “The main thing is to be able to be flexible. … It changes every day.”

The new rules, based on Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s “Safer at Home” order, include:

  • Reduced occupancy. Balls will have 50 percent occupancy, with a requirement that people stay 6 feet apart. Seating diagrams reflect those guidelines.
  • Social distancing. Signs will encourage people to maintain distance, including in restrooms and food areas.
  • Face coverings. Masks will be required over the mouth and nose.
  • Temperature checks. Workers and third-party vendors will have to clear screenings and complete health screening questionnaires prior to the start of their shifts.
  • Health and hygiene measures. Increased cleaning will take place, and hand sanitizer stations must be available through all public spaces, restrooms and food areas.

In addition, events will have to end by 1 a.m. to allow for enhanced cleaning of the facility.

There also are rules specific to the different venues. For instance, the dance floor at the Civic Center Arena will be limited to 60-by-80 feet. And the number of bands that can perform will be capped at two.

Mary Lee Gay, ASM Global’s senior marketing manager, said she hopes the 19 organizations that hold balls at the Civic Center and the seven to hold events at the Convention Center will roll with the punches.

“We’ve really gotten good positive reviews,” she said. “You know, I think they understand that we really want this to happen, we know that it’s gonna be a little bit different, but we have our team has been working on some ideas to help minimize the impact that is going to have on their events.”

Gay said the company is eager to hear ideas from the Mardi Gras organizations. She said some groups might be able to get more people in by spreading the balls out over a larger footprint.

“We’ve talked to some of the larger organizations that use the Civic Center who’ve never used the theater before, and we’ve talked to them about maybe using the theater for dressing areas, maybe, you know, having some food over there, that we know would normally have in a different area,” she said. “So, there’s a lot of areas of the building that organizations haven't necessarily utilized in the past.”

All content © 2020, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.


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