HOUSTON - The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market SPRING is returning this April with in-person shopping.
The event will be held April 16-18 at NRG Center, and tickets go on sale March 22.
Due to COVID-19, in-person shopping events were canceled for the Nutcracker Market SPRING and the Nutcracker Market last year. The Nutcracker Market in November was held as a month-long virtual event.
"We cannot overstate how excited we are to return to NRG Center and bring back an in-person Market for our merchants and shoppers," said Patsy Chapman, CEO of the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. "We have carefully and thoughtfully prepared our plan for in-person shopping with recommendations from local and national experts on reopening protocols. Many aspects of the Market will look a little different, but ultimately, the experience of shopping for a great cause is still at the heart of this event."
Event organizers say the Nutcracker Market and NRG Park are closely following the guidance provided by federal, state, and local governmental agencies and health authorities, as well as industry guidance from national and international organizations including ASM Global, VenueShield, and CAA-ICON Advisory Services.
"By design, we spread out the layout of the event as much as we can to create a socially distant shopping experience where everyone feels comfortable and safe," said Chapman. "For example, our aisles will be double the size of the average grocery store aisle. Additionally, we are tracking the exact number of how many shoppers are inside the building at all times to ensure the hall is below capacity. We feel confident about our ability to maintain capacity limits given Nutcracker Market SPRING is a significantly smaller show than our November event. We are adamant on following every guideline and restriction to ensure a safe event for everyone."
Officials say the following protocols will be in place:
- Anyone ages two and older entering NRG Park property (indoors or out) for Nutcracker Market SPRING will be required to wear a mask - no exceptions - and practice social distancing.
- Event staff will monitor for social distancing and mask wearing.
- There will be increased space between booths and significant spacing of the aisles. The average Nutcracker Market SPRING aisle will be 24-feet wide.
- The Market will be spread through four halls, as compared to the two halls used for the 2019 Nutcracker Market SPRING.
- NRG Park capacity for shoppers will be limited to 6,500. Staff will keep count of shoppers as they enter and exit the halls.
- NRG Park will provide enhanced cleaning procedures throughout the day, including cleaning high-touch surfaces and deep cleaning every evening.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
- Concessions will be limited. Only when actively eating or drinking, shoppers may remove their masks.
- NRG Park has upgraded the filters for all air-handling units to high efficiency MERV-13 air filtration system.
- Many merchants will offer touchless payment options. All concessions will only offer touchless payment options.
- Health screenings, including temperature checks, will be performed on all persons upon entering NRG Park.
Due to capacity restrictions, everyone, regardless of age, is required to have a ticket for entry. Tickets will not be sold onsite during the market.