Mayor London Breed Welcomes First Convention to Moscone Center Since Beginning of Shelter-in-Place
California Dental Association hosts annual conference at Moscone Center, marking the return of business conventions to San Francisco
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today celebrated the return of conventions to the Moscone Convention Center with a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the Exhibit Hall at the California Dental Association’s “CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry” conference. This is the first convention to return to Moscone Center since the City’s major convention center was closed to events in March of 2020.
During the first 16 months of the pandemic, Moscone Center served as the heart of San Francisco’s Emergency Response to COVID. Moscone Center operated as an emergency shelter in the early days of COVID to ensure a safe place for the City’s unhoused residents while the City worked to identify and prepare more permanent accommodations. It simultaneously functioned as the City’s Emergency Operations Center serving as the logistical hub for thousands of Disaster Service Workers from March 2020 to July 2021, who were charged with planning, procuring, implementing, and communicating the entirety of the City’s COVID response in an effective, equitable, and efficient manner. Beginning in February 2021, Moscone Center also served as the City’s largest mass vaccination site, delivering 329,608 vaccinations. Today, Thursday, September 9, 2021, conventions return to Moscone Center, marking a milestone in San Francisco’s economic recovery.
“I am so proud of the role that Moscone played throughout the pandemic as the heart of our COVID response,” said Mayor London Breed. “We used one of our City’s greatest assets to plan and deploy our emergency operations, to keep our most vulnerable safe when there was no where else for them to go, and to deliver the vaccines that ultimately will allow us to put this behind us. And today I am so proud to take another step towards normalcy and the economic recovery of our city, again with Moscone at the center.”
CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry conference will run from Thursday, September 9 until Saturday, September 11, hosting informational sessions in the latest techniques and innovations in dentistry and an exhibition hall of 300-400 displays of products relevant to the dentistry profession. The conference expects approximately 3,000 attendees to participate over the two-day conference, and has generated over 1,200 room nights for San Francisco hotels.
“We’re thrilled to be back at Moscone Center, where we’ve held our dental convention for over 30 years,” said Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte, president of the California Dental Association. “We’re grateful for our partnership with Moscone and the city of San Francisco in implementing health and safety guidelines to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.”
Conferences like this one are a cornerstone to San Francisco’s $10 billion tourism industry. By drawing conventions back to San Francisco, the City is investing in the recovery of jobs and small businesses in its hospitality and entertainment industries, which bore the brunt of the economic impacts of COVID-19. Increased convention traffic brings hotel reservations, patrons to restaurants, bars and arts venues, and business to local shops and entertainment establishments. Conference organizers order materials, supplies, catering, and personnel for the event, creating additional activity for San Francisco businesses.
“We are thrilled to take this latest step in San Francisco’s economic recovery. The return of conventions support the economic health and growth of our small businesses, entertainment venues and the hospitality industry in our city.” said Kate Sofis, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Between the cultural destination of each of San Francisco's neighborhoods, our world-renowned recreational activities and the investments we have made over the last year to increase how much of our quintessential shopping and dining experiences are available outdoors, we are more than ready to invite conventions and visitors back and encourage them to get out and experience all the beauty, culture, and fun that San Francisco has to offer.”
In 2019, Moscone Center hosted 49 conventions, but with large indoor gatherings prohibited until June of 2021 and Moscone occupied by COVID emergency response units until July 2021, conferences and conventions had little opportunity to convene. Now, as the high vaccination rate in San Francisco has reduced the public health risk of resuming many in-person activities and Moscone has re-opened to hosting public events, the City is investing in the return of this critical aspect of economic activity.
"Every convention we secure helps to fuel the City's $10.3 billion tourism industry, creating jobs and bringing business to our local economy. Already our facilities are accredited with the industry’s highest cleaning and safety standards and this year, with a boost from the Moscone Recovery Fund, San Francisco is able to further compete for and book convention business for years to come,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “We are excited to see California Dental Association to be the first returning to San Francisco and we hope this is just the first of many visits to our beautiful City.”
In her 2021 budget, Mayor Breed allocated $4.6 million over two years to create the Moscone Recovery Fund. This fund will allow the City to offer incentives that reduce the cost of renting space at Moscone Center to attract conventions, conferences, trade shows, and other large events back to San Francisco.
The Moscone Recovery Fund works in tandem with other recovery initiatives such as the Downtown Community Ambassadors, and the Mid-Market Vibrancy and Safety Plan, both of which are aimed at supporting visitors, commuters, and residents as they return to San Francisco’s downtown core. A group of 10 Community Ambassadors will be deployed to the Metreon/Moscone area of the City and downtown BART stations. These ambassadors will serve as a visible point of reference for conference attendees who may need directions or other assistance as they travel to and from the conference center or explore the City. The full downtown Ambassador program will launch in October.
“We are excited to welcome conventions back and can’t think of a better association to begin with than Cal Dental,” said Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel. “With members in the medical field, Cal Dental knows the importance of San Francisco’s safety protocols which has enabled us to safely and confidently bring back our meetings business. Welcome back Cal Dental - to the safest city in America.”
CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry is the first of several conferences scheduled to take place in San Francisco. Both Dreamforce—the biggest technology conference of its kind—and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand’s annual conference will come to the Moscone Center later in September. As of August, SF Travel, San Francisco’s destination marketing Organization has 34 events booked at Moscone for 2022 and over 650,000 confirmed room nights. This is more than double the 13 events held or confirmed at Moscone for all of 2020/2021 and over four times the approximately 159,000 room nights those events generate.
Many events are adopting hybrid approaches or modifying schedules in order to maximize public safety. The California Dental Association decided against large general sessions, opting instead to allow participants to attend smaller informational sessions and visit the exhibition hall as their schedules opened so as to reduce the number of people in one room at one time. Similarly, the Dreamforce conference is producing events that have both in-person and remote elements and foregoing large indoor functions in favor of outdoor sessions.