The 2020 version annual gala hosted by the Westminster Chamber of Commerce will try to take individual concerns about COVID-19 into account later this month.
“It’s going to be a hybrid — part virtual, part in person,” Chamber President Juliet Abdel said. “The theme is into the future, and in this new time-period, we have an opportunity to stay close to people or talk from a distance. That’s the future, right now.”
The gala will offer four levels of distance — a virtual version as well as three levels for 75 people to attend a live event at the Denver Marriott Westminster, 7000 Church Ranch Boulevard.
People attending the in-person event will be given wristbands designed to show their comfort with COVID-19. Red bands are for those wanting to maintain social distance at all times. Yellow bands are for those willing to bump elbows as a greeting.
“And then we have a green one that says basically, high fives, handshakes, are all welcome,” Abdel said. “Of course, with hand washing. We’re still trying to maintain social distancing standards.”
Abdel said the chamber is approaching this year’s gala less as a fundraiser and more as a chance to connect with neighbors. The annual event is usually scheduled in April but that was at the height of the COVID-19 quarantines and statewide stay at home order.
The room is also being arranged to encourage social distancing. Tables will be stacked two deep, with two people sitting per side.
“When I say we’ve set up the room to be socially distanced, don’t think of one chair here and another there,” she said. “Think of a giant letter W. That’s how we’re mapping the entire ballroom.”
She hopes it will offer plenty of room for people to sit while letting them keep a safe distance.
“Basically, you’ll have two people per table facing each other, and then there’s another table a little ways away, but it’s connected,” she said.
The event usually draws in 200 local businesses and officials. Abdel said his year’s in-person event is being limited to 75. People that make that list will get dinner, live entertainment and masks and hand sanitizer especially branded for the event.
People that opt for the remote version will still be part of the event, she said.
“The entire event will be streamed live to people who prefer to stay home,” she said. “In a time when COVID is continuing on, there can be a sense of negativity and we really want this to be a positive event. So that’s a core reason we are doing to show people that we can have great events while staying under the guidelines we’ve been provided. We want to do it in a way that it’s not just a Zoom meeting, where you can only see people from the top.”
People that register to watch remotely will have a special dinner delivered to them and will be able stop by the Marriott earlier in the day to get their specially branded masks and hand sanitizer.
“We’ll be engaging all of them,” she said. “Selected people that are tuned in will be feature in the main ballroom. So people attending at home, we want them to be dressed up. We want them to be part of the experience, so we have to get them in the room with us and engaged.”
The meals will be provided by Roots in Broomfield.