Larita Clark took the job as CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the corporation that owns McCormick Place and Navy Pier, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic shut the city down.
Clark said the MPEA’s last big event before the shutdown was the NBA All-Star weekend in mid-February.
“Since then, we’ve been monitoring all the safety requirements from the federal government and the state and city governments, just to ensure that when the time is right, that our events can return safely,” Clark said.
Clark said the slew of canceled events at McCormick Place, North America’s largest convention center, cost MPEA about $90 million in net revenue.
Hoping for a rebound, MPEA has added dozens of events to the 2021 calendar at McCormick Place starting June 1.
Clark said the MPEA is closely following nationwide vaccination progress and plans to implement several safety guidelines, like socially distanced seating arrangements, increased airflow from outside and pre-packaged catering meals.