We work hard to reduce the stress of having an event. If you're planning an event for any time in the next year, COVID-19 has almost certainly added some stress. Here are all the reasons it can be OK.
This virus and the accompanying safety guidelines are constantly changing, but we have learned over the past almost eight months that we are able to adapt to a wide range of restrictions and situations to keep your event running and you and your guests safe. Currently, The Riley County Health Department is allowing large events, with the size of the space determining the maximum capacity. To hold an event in Riley County that is over 50 people, you will need to fill out the county permit. The permit requires a safety plan and, in our experience, the County is very collaborative in finding ways to help your vision for your event come true safely. Additionally, several features of Blue Vista help facilitate this:
Blue Vista is one of the largest indoor venues in the greater Manhattan, KS area. With 5,000 square feet in our main event space, we have the floor space to fit a large crowd while maintaining the County requirements of 6-ft. between all tables. With this spacing (see image below), we are able to seat 232 guests comfortably banquet-style indoors, and up to 288 total people with a few tradeoffs (like a smaller dance floor) if you need as many people as possible.
Of course, you can seat more in warmer months and still follow the current guidelines if you also use the large outdoor patio areas on the East and South sides of Cedar Pavilion for seating or buffet lines, etc.
You may also have guests who want to attend that may be at higher risk (or live with someone who is at higher risk) for virus complications. In the Cedar Pavilion, our 2nd floor balcony and 3rd floor mezzanine levels overlook the main event space, providing physically distant seating for up to 32 people so your guests can be part of the event without being too close.
In our Lodge, you can hold a small gathering of up to 49 people seated banquet-style. Currently, Riley County does not require physical distancing for events under 50 people, although it is recommended. With physically distanced banquet seating, the Hearth Room of the Lodge can hold 42 people. The Lodge also has a front patio space and a very large deck off of the Hearth Room for use to expand capacity in warmer weather. Creative hosts have also used the first floor apartment right off the hearth Room for a Buffet line or additional seating.
Another thing to consider when choosing an indoor event space is total air volume. Research on COVID-19 transmission rates indicate that large total air volume and good circulation slow the spread of the virus. Spaces with a large air volume make it much harder for droplets to build up over time, and we have high ceilings in both our large and small event spaces (38 ft. high in Cedar Pavilion and 20 ft. high in the Lodge's Hearth Room). We have also upgraded our air handling equipment with enhanced filters that can remove viral particles from the air. We have large ceiling fans in both the Cedar Pavilion and Lodge event spaces, and when the weather is accommodating, allow doors and windows to be open to create a lovely cross-breeze.
Masks can be a sensitive topic, but they don't have to ruin your event! Masks that match your wedding theme may be the new custom coozy or napkin. There are many options on the internet to create custom masks to match the colors and theme of your event - you can even ask your vendors to wear your custom masks to continue the look and feel. Blue Vista staff will always be wearing masks when interacting with you or your guests as long as this pandemic is in place to ensure your safety. Additionally, we require guests to wear masks when approaching our staff (like coming up to the bar if we are bartending) to keep our staff healthy and fit and able to continue serving our patrons.
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