In the aftermath of the tragedy that unfolded on April 15 in Boston, in which two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority released a statement from Executive Director James Rooney with an update on the status of Boston’s John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, security enhancements, and meetings at the facility.
“To our neighbors in Boston and to the many victims and their families, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority extends its sympathies. To the first responders, including members of our own public safety team, we offer our gratitude for your brave and professional response and for the actions you are taking to insure justice and provide a sense of security in our community. Yesterday was a horrific day in Boston, and we are slowly coming back.”
“In light of this tragedy, we are reaching out to update you on how our facilities and our events have been impacted, as well as enhanced security procedures aimed at making our facilities and our customers safe and secure.”
Rooney went on to say that after the bombings, which at press time had killed 3 and injured some 176 people, the Hynes was immediately evacuated and closed. “The move-out of the Sports and Fitness Expo associated with the Boston Marathon was stopped, and the move-in of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Annual Meeting 2013 was also halted. Access to the Boylston Street entrance to the Hynes has been shut down until the investigation is complete and Boylston Street is reopened.” Local political and law enforcement leaders said there were no known additional threats.
The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Annual Meeting at the Hynes, with about 2,000 attendees, opened Wednesday evening and will run through Friday. The Hynes and all surrounding hotels in the block are now open, except the Lenox Hotel, one of ASCA spillover properties. The Lenox was not damaged but is near the investigation area. The handful of attendees at the Lenox were moved to other properties, said ASCA officials. Also, flights in and out of Boston continue to operate with an enhanced security presence, said Rooney. In a statement on their Web site, ASCA officials said they received assurances that the city is safe and the meeting would not interfere with investigations. ASCA reported minimal cancellations.
Rooney’s statement continued:
“At the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which is some distance from the Hynes, the Experimental Biology 2013 Annual Meeting is also scheduled to take place starting Saturday, April 20.
In light of the ongoing investigation, the MCCA will increase security and security checks at all of our facilities.
• Access to the Hynes can be gained through the entrance in the Prudential Center.
• All of our facilities were swept by K-9 units overnight. These sweeps, already a component of our security protocol, will be conducted more frequently on an unannounced basis in the coming months.
• All those entering the MCCA facilities (BCEC & Hynes) without a valid ID will be approached regarding their purpose in the facility.
• All employees, contractors, exhibitors, and attendees will be asked to properly display their badges at all times.
• Visitors entering the Hynes will be subject to bag searches.
• Vehicles entering both the Hynes and BCEC via the loading docks will be subject to search.
“At the MCCA, our 155 full-time and part-time public safety officers are trained to respond to various emergency procedures under the National Incident Management System, which is the national standard. Our facilities have 400 digital cameras that are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we use Department of Homeland Security freight-screening equipment. We also have a close, working relationship with Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, and a host of other state and federal agencies. The safety of our facilities, and the well-being of our events and our clients, are paramount and will remain so. Nothing, today or in the future, is more important to us.”