ST. CLOUD -- The River's Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud is a very quiet place these days.

Director Tony Goddard says it has been pretty much shut down since the Governor's executive orders involving coronavirus pandemic began in Minnesota in the middle of March. He says there's no events on the books for April, May or June and it's essentially inactive until September at the earliest. Over 80 events at the River's Edge were canceled in April, May and June alone which will result in a significant loss in revenue.

We don't know when we'll be able to reopen, sometime in the fall, but we don't know when and and we don't know under what circumstance, but $400,000 is a decent projection of a loss for this year.

Goddard says there are a few weddings that are still tentative over the summer but most of the weddings on the books either canceled or postponed on their own.

Another financial hit is to the area caterers, Goddard says they work with 14 different private caterers that take in about $2 million a year in revenue from convention center business.

In the meantime, the city has laid off all part-time staff at the River's Edge and they've shifted five workers to other sites like at the Municipal Athletic Complex to do routine maintenance over there.  They still have three people working at the River's Edge right now.  They've also shut down as many electric systems as they can to help lower their utility bill.

One big question is what will the convention business look like once restrictions on gatherings are eventually lifted.

Part of the uncertainty of course for those customers, as well as us, is whether people will want to come back for concerts let's say, I don't know that people will be willing to be in the convention center with 1,200 other people watching a show.

Goddard says another big question is if they'll have to invest in new equipment to check the health of guests as they enter their facility.

The River's Edge Convention Center, the Municipal Athletic Complex and the Paramount Theater get some of their funds for operations from the city's lodging tax, and they get money for capital investments from the city's food and beverage tax, both of which have largely dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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