How the Macon Centreplex is handling COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed event operations for the Macon Centreplex. The Central Georgia facility has felt the effects of social distancing guidelines.

The venue was forced to cancel many of its scheduled events after lockdowns began in March 2020. Social distancing requirements have made event planning difficult, according to David Aiello, the general manager of Macon Centreplex, and has required the venue to make changes to its operations.

Aiello has been the general manager of the Centreplex for four years. He oversees day-to-day operations and client relations with Macon-Bibb County.

Social distancing requirements have made event planning difficult, according to Aiello, and has required the venue to operate differently.

“We see what the CDC and the local health department comes out with on a daily basis and we try to work with that to make sure everybody is safe,” Aiello said.

The Macon Centreplex has been taking temperatures, enforcing mask mandates, implemented a clear bag policy, and offers contactless ticket scanning. The Centreplex has also made big changes to cleaning. Also, backpack sprayers with disinfectants have been used to spray down seats, locker rooms, and media areas.  “I foresee us using that going forward once we’re out of the pandemic as well,” Aiello said. “I foresee the temperature thing continuing going forward, I foresee the additional cleaning procedures, the additional cleaning cost.”

While the Centreplex has been hosting sporting events, Aiello said that hosting concerts and musical events have been much more challenging.

“It’s difficult on the music side of it because artists are still wanting high guarantees to come and perform without the capacity,” Aiello said. “That’s why you haven’t seen many concerts as opposed to sporting events.”

The Centreplex has also hosted socially distant activities, including outdoor drive-in concerts, movies, and flea markets.

In summer 2020, the Macon Coliseum hosted the “Go-Big Show”, which premiered on TBS in January.  The show was filmed in strict COVID-19 safety protocols in what Aiello described as a “bubble”.

Aiello isn’t sure when or if things will go completely back to normal.

”We were lucky as far as from an events standpoint that we didn’t have to fully shut down. A lot of our venues in the Northeast and west coast had to do that, they’re still really shut down,” Aiello said. “They’re only able to be used for vaccine sites or hospitals, we’ve been lucky on that standpoint.”

Despite the changes the past year has brought, Aiello said the staff at Macon Centreplex has handled everything well, and the new policies the venue has instituted are working.

“Our staff has done a good job,” Aiello said. “What we’ve installed, all the policies and the procedures, is showing that it works.”