Seating capacity for Mardi Gras balls in 2021 could be limited to 550, while the Mobile Civic Center’s total arena capacity could be held to 1,600, according to a letter sent to Carnival groups from the center’s management company. At max capacity, the Civic Center can hold 10,112.
About a week after Mayor Sandy Stimpson sent a letter to Mardi Gras groups asking organizers to get creative in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kendall Wall, ASM Global’s local general manager, sent a letter to groups outlining changes to the way Carnival festivities will be handled. ASM Global manages the Civic Center, Saenger Theatre and Mobile Convention Center. Wall’s letter also invited groups to help ASM finalize additional plans.
“This letter is an invitation to join us to develop plans for a safe and memorable Mardi Gras 2021,” the letter read. “Your event manager will be reaching out to you in the next few days to coordinate an in-person or virtual meeting for you and your representatives. We know that with your partnership and insight, we can and will find a way to reimagine an event that still honors your unique traditions.”
In a phone interview with Lagniappe, ASM Global spokesperson Mary Lee Gay said the company has ideas to help create more occupancy and wants to meet with organizations.
“We have thought of a lot of ideas to help increase the occupancy and we know that the Mardi Gras organizations have ideas as well,” she said. “If we can all just get to the table and work some of these ideas out, we are going to do our very best to execute them. There are definitely some ways we think we can increase the occupancy.”
ASM Global will also be reducing the dance floor to 60 feet by 80 feet, according to the letter, and adjusting the conclusion time to 1 a.m. to allow for completion of “additional cleaning protocols required for the next day’s event.”
In addition to these changes, the north risers will be eliminated to allow for more seating, and table seating in the hallways will not be allowed.
“The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges and we know that the upcoming Mardi Gras season will be unlike any other,” Wall’s letter reads. “The situation will require us to think outside the box in order to ‘laissez les bon temps rouler,’ but I can think of no better group of people to rise to the occasion than our mystic society members. Our team is looking forward to the opportunity to work with you to create a memorable and safe experience for your members and guests.”
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