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CRVA adds technology to enhance cleanliness at venues

The additional technology adds a layer of cleanliness to help mitigate risk as CRVA managed venues look to increase capacity as the state allows.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) is adding new technology to its venues to enhance cleanliness protocols.

The CRVA is implementing needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) and thermal cameras as an added layer of safety for guests.

CRVA manages the Charlotte Convention Center, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bojangles Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium, and provides back of house support to Spectrum Center.

“It was absolutely paramount for us that as we welcome guests back into our venues that we absolutely have the safest environment possible,” Steve Bagwell, vice president of venues at the CRVA, said.

Guests probably won’t even notice the new technology as they walk through the doors at the Charlotte Convention Center.

According to a release, the cameras work by continuously measuring body temperatures in large groups, with the ability to measure tens of thousands of readings per hour up to 16 feet away.

The CRVA will use four thermal camera units -- three in the Charlotte Convention Center and one in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“It’s a really effective way to… measure temperatures quickly and make sure we have that layer of safety in place on screening folks as they enter the building,” Bagwell added.

The CRVA is also among the first in the meetings and conventions industry to implement NPBI technology in its venues.

Global Plasma Solutions (GPS), a Charlotte-based company, developed and installed the patented technology in CRVA venues.

“It’s actually installed in the HVAC systems within the buildings that we’re deployed in, and so really, it’s quiet,” Kevin Boyle, vice president of marketing for GPS, said. “It’s discreet, and it’s working hard to clean the air even though you’re not aware that it’s around you.”

According to a release, NPBI technology delivers safer, cleaner indoor air by reducing harmful particles and pathogens like mold, bacteria, allergens and viruses, and is highly effective in eliminating disease-causing pathogens, such as those responsible for COVID-19.

“What CRVA has done is made an investment in a real leadership technology and put in a layer of safety that is really above and beyond many tourism locations across the country,” Boyle added.

Boyle said the technology can be used beyond addressing the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We don’t know what the next thing around the corner might be,” Boyle said. “But this is not a COVID solution. This is an indoor air quality solution.”

Starting March 26 at 5 p.m., North Carolina will increase the capacity of conference centers and sports arenas to 50%. Museums can operate at 100% capacity.

RELATED: Gov. Cooper eases COVID-19 restrictions; mask mandate and social distancing still remains

Bagwell said the CRVA is working to increase capacity limits as allowed by the state while still following the social distancing guidelines.

Masks are required at all CRVA venues, and the CRVA also developed and implemented "We Clean with Care," a robust and comprehensive program created based on the guidance of the CDC, FDA and a contracted infection disease control expert.

The implementation of the new technology is just one way CRVA is working to bring people back together in its venues in a safe way.

“I’m very confident that we’re doing all that we can to make sure we’re creating a safe environment,” Bagwell said.