PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The Rhode Island Convention Center is preparing to host its first event since the pandemic began.
Dan McConaghy, executive director of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority, tells 12 News that on Aug. 11, JLC Live will return to Providence for the 25th year.
“It’s a residential construction trade show and we’re expecting 4,000 to 5,000 people,” McConaghy said.
Comic Con will also be making a comeback in November at the Rhode Island Convention Center, McConaghy said, which served as a field hospital for more than 500 patients throughout the pandemic.
After more than a month of deconstructing the field hospital, the 167,000-square-foot event space is back to normal and ready to host events just like it used to.
“This really was the central state facility that helped Rhode Island cope and deal and respond to the COVID crisis,” McConaghy said.
The COVID response numbers between the R.I. Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center next door speak for themselves, according to McConaghy. He said approximately 257,000 people were tested and 120,000 people were vaccinated there.
With the Dunkin’ Donuts Center out of commission, the Providence Bruins hosted their games at a Massachusetts facility last year. McConaghy said the team will return to Providence in October and the Providence Friars will also be making a comeback.
Touring shows and concerts are still having setbacks because of the spread of the delta variant. McConaghy said several shows are holding off scheduling dates to perform at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
“It may not be cost effective for them to do 10 shows in the Northeast, but skip 30 shows in the South or West,” McConaghy said.
Though COVID testing and vaccinations may have ended inside both centers, an outdoor walk-up testing site remains open to the public.