Boston, MA – The show will go on in Boston. That’s the message from Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Executive Director Jim Rooney a day after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing at least three and injuring 170 more.
Several events scheduled to use the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center three blocks from the bombing site have revised their schedules. The Hynes Center was immediately evacuated and closed after the explosions yesterday.
The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association’s (ASCA) move-in for its annual meeting was halted Monday, as was the move-out of the Sports and Fitness Expo associated with the Boston Marathon. The Boylston Street entrance to the Hynes remains closed during the ongoing investigation.
As of today, ASCA will start its meeting for about 2,000 attendees Wednesday evening; it will run through Friday. ASCA staff on site at the time of the bombing was all reported safe.
Boston ComicCon 2013 is scheduled to take place on April 20 at the same facility. Colin Solan, a spokesperson for Boston Comic Con, said in a statement that the convention will go on as scheduled. “We hope to stand as an example of the resilience of Bostonians in the wake of this horrific tragedy,” he said.
Repercussions rippled across the country. In Southern California, Los Angeles International Airport increased the use of K-9 units at the airport and added law enforcement officers on site. Extra security was added at Dodger Stadium where Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated prior to the scheduled baseball game.
In Anaheim, where several Disneyland-related marathons are staged annually, Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman issued a statement saying that they were monitoring local intelligence activity and staying in touch with local resorts and sports and entertainment venues.
Boston was lauded for its quick response and handling of the incident.
The turmoil at the finish line of the Boston Marathon hit close to home for the trade show industry. Experient’s Heidi Voorhees ran the marathon and finished roughly five minutes before the bombs went off. Even Jim Rooney was at the finish line with his family waiting for a niece to finish. All of them escaped injury.
See below for a statement released from Jim Rooney, published in its entirety.
Reach Jim Rooney at (617) 954-2470 or jrooneymassconvention.com
Statement from James E. Rooney, Executive Director,
Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
“To our neighbors in Boston and to the many victims and their families, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority extends its sympathies. To the first responders, including members of our own public safety team, we offer our gratitude for your brave and professional response and for the actions you are taking to insure justice and provide a sense of security in our community. Yesterday was a horrific day in Boston, and we are slowly coming back.
“In light of this tragedy, we are reaching out to update you on how our facilities and our events have been impacted, as well as enhanced security procedures aimed at making our facilities and our customers safe and secure.
“The John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center was down the street from yesterday’s bombings and was immediately evacuated and closed. The move-out of the Sports and Fitness Expo associated with the Boston Marathon was stopped, and the move-in of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Annual Meeting 2013 was also halted. Access to the Boylston Street entrance to the Hynes has been shut down until the investigation is complete and Boylston Street is reopened.
“At this time, on Tuesday, April 16 at 11 a.m., the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Annual Meeting at the Hynes, with about 2,000 attendees, is scheduled to take place starting Wednesday evening. The event is scheduled to run through Friday. If this situation should change, we will keep you posted. The Hynes is open, and all hotels surrounding the Hynes are open.
“At the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which is some distance from the Hynes, the Experimental Biology 2013 Annual Meeting is also scheduled to take place starting Saturday, April 20.
“With all this in mind, and in light of the ongoing investigation, the MCCA will increase security and security checks at all of our facilities.
- Access to the Hynes can be gained through the entrance in the Prudential Center.
- All of our facilities were swept by K-9 units overnight. These sweeps, already a component of our security protocol, will be conducted more frequently on an unannounced basis in the coming months.
- All those entering the MCCA facilities (BCEC & Hynes) without a valid ID will be approached regarding their purpose in the facility.
- All employees, contractors, exhibitors, and attendees will be asked to properly display their badges at all times.
- Visitors entering the Hynes will be subject to bag searches.
- Vehicles entering both the Hynes and BCEC via the loading docks will be subject to search.\
“At the MCCA, our 155 full-time and part-time public safety officers are trained to respond to various emergency procedures under the National Incident Management System, which is the national standard. Our facilities have 400 digital cameras that are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we use Department of Homeland Security freight-screening equipment. We also have a close, working relationship with Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, and a host of other state and federal agencies.
“The safety of our facilities, and the well-being of our events and our clients, are paramount and will remain so. Nothing, today or in the future, is more important to us.”