The High Point Market will take place as scheduled October 13 – 21 following revisions to plans submitted to the North Carolina Governor’s office by the High Point Market Authority (HPMA) in partnership with the Guilford County Health Department and Guilford County Emergency Management Department, Casual Living‘s sister publication Furniture Today has learned.
Consultations between HPMA, Guilford county officials and representatives of Governor Cooper’s office resulted in changes to Market plants that will include, among other things, transitioning educational programming to a virtual format and capacity limitations on buildings and showrooms that correspond to the Stage 2.5 guidelines the governor announced earlier this month.
“They [representatives of the governor’s office] provided comprehensive feedback that included some suggested changes,” Tom Conley, CEO of High Point Market Authority told Furniture Today. “We appreciate the feedback and have altered the plan to take into account these changes. We’re looking forward to a successful October Market.”
While the original plan had accounted for social distancing for educational programming within the High Point Theatre, the potential for attendance to exceed the maximum allowed under the Governor’s most recent executive order resulted in a shift to an entirely virtual educational program for the Market Authority. Executive Order No. 163, issued by the Governor’s office on September 2020 indicates that mass gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
State officials that consulted with HPMA and Guilford County representatives acknowledged the dispersed nature of the showroom environment in place during the market and applied the same formula to market showrooms as to retail establishments. According to Interim Guidance for Retail Businesses issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on July 24 retail businesses are required to limit occupancy to no more than 50% of the stated fire capacity or 12 per 1,000 square feet if there is not a fire code number readily available.
Representatives of the Governor’s office also instructed the Market Authority to advise any showrooms that had not had any occupancy and for which the air conditioning and water had not been turned on for six consecutive months to be aware of the potential for Legionnaires’ Disease. The Market Authority will also need to follow established transportation guidelines.
As a result buses providing transportation service will be operating at reduced occupancy limits. HPMA advises those intending to use these services to and from Raleigh and Charlotte airports to make reservations. Additionally, in place of the traditional Red Line and Green Line service HPMA will be operating a larger number of vans, SUVs and sedans to take individuals and small groups to their destinations.
Buses will be pulled out of service for midday disinfecting with additional disinfecting to be performed each evening. Attendees to market will be required to wear masks while indoors at market and will be subject to daily health checks that involve temperature checks. HPMA has obtained a supply of masks as have individual buildings. Once attendees pass their health check they will be issued a colored wrist band that will allow them to enter buildings for the remainder of that day without being subject to additional screening. Different colors will be issued each day.