By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After being at limited capacity for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minneapolis Convention Center will be fully operational again starting this weekend.

Officials for the downtown Minneapolis complex say that on Friday the building will open with no capacity or social distancing limits, in line with Gov. Tim Walz’s most recent executive order.

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Masks, however, will still be required, as the city’s mandate has yet to be lifted.

“We’re in the business of building relationships,” said Jeff Johnson, the convention center’s executive director. “Although COVID-19 severely limited in-person relationship-building over the past year, we’re excited to welcome guests back to our venue and city and are fully prepared to ensure that all events we host are safe and successful.”

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Convention center officials say the building has upgraded its cleaning protocols and installed new cleaning technology to keep staff and visitors safe. Among the upgrades installed were needlepoint bipolar ionization devices for filtering the air in meeting rooms.

The convention center’s calendar for the second half of the year is filling up with events, officials say. Additionally, a number of items are already on the books for next year.

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After closing at the start of the pandemic last March, the convention center has been operating over the last year as a community testing site and more recently as a vaccination site.