Area residents and visitors in search of information about Annapolis and Anne Arundel County can count on personalized service from trained volunteers at the 26 West Street Visitors Center once again when Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) does a soft reopening of the center on Wednesday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m.
VAAAC Acting Executive Director Dani Bottcher says cleanliness and safety are at the forefront of the new Visitor Center experience. “Our goal is to provide everyone who stops by the Visitors Center with the personalized attention and information they need to experience the destination as fully, completely, and safely as possible. Visit Annapolis has implemented state-of-the-art safety and security measures to help protect visitors and put their minds at ease so they can focus on enjoying the destination.”
The security and sanitation measures and equipment outlined below were made possible through a $10,000 Customer and Employee Protection (CEP) grant that the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation awarded to VAAAC last month.
To ensure one-way traffic through the building, an “entry only” sign will direct visitors to access the Visitors Center through the side door. Before doing so, a contactless infrared thermometer will be used to take their temperature, just as it is used to check the temperature of the VAAAC information specialists who report to work each day. Since mask wearing within the Visitors Center is mandatory, guests will be offered a complimentary disposable face mask and gloves when they enter the building. A VAAAC information specialist will then direct visitors to the conference room where two information specialist stations have been set up to allow for more distancing and to promote one-way traffic flow.
A maximum of eleven visitors will be allowed in the Visitors Center at one time. While waiting for assistance, six-foot floor markers will make it easy for guests to maintain social distancing. Posters encouraging cough/sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene, automatic hand-sanitizer stations, and plexiglass partitions at information stations will help ensure additional protection for all.
VAAAC is following CDC-recommended guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting high-touch points. EPA-approved sanitizing products will be used every half-hour – or more often as necessary. Entry and exit doors will remain open as often as possible to provide extra ventilation.
Once visitors receive the information and assistance they need, they will depart the building through the conference room door in the back of the building. Portable restrooms have been set up there for visitor use as the public restrooms within the Visitors Center will remain closed.
To provide an extra layer of protection for VAAAC employees, volunteers, and visitors, VAAAC has had the 26 West Street Visitors Center professionally cleaned via a vaporization technology that disinfects, sanitizes, and decontaminates with a Department of Defense-approved electrostatic disinfection system designed the kill 99.9% of surface viruses and bacteria for up to 28 days.
VAAAC plans to open the Visitors Center Thursday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Should COVID-19 conditions worsen, the schedule will be revisited, and a closure may be required. VAAAC monitors State of Maryland, City of Annapolis, and Anne Arundel County guidelines.
VAAAC’s Visitor Ambassadors have been walking the streets of downtown Annapolis providing helpful advice and information to area residents and visitors since June 6. Current hours are Thursday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
VAAAC volunteer information specialists have been providing area residents and visitors with information at the organization’s City Dock Information Kiosk since June 13. The kiosk is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.