Cal Poly graduates and their families will be able to celebrate that milestone on campus and around town once again this year, but on a smaller scale.
There will be a total of six ceremonies Saturday and Sunday, one for each college with each graduate allowed up to four guests.
“My parents are coming in, we’re all fully vaccinated. I just feel really lucky.” said one graduating senior, Vanessa Kao.
“Graduation, we kind of joke around and call it the Super Bowl.” said Samantha Welch, the Director of Operations at restaurants Novo and Lunar Red.
Cal Poly will be hosting in-person graduations this year at Spanos Stadium.
The university told our team each ceremony will be a little shorter, in an effort to keep all of the attention on the students.
“Their opportunity to walk across stage, have their name read, get a fist bump from the president or the provost.” said Keith Humphrey, the Vice President for Student Affairs at Cal Poly.
There will be a total of six ceremonies Saturday and Sunday. One for each college with each graduate allowed up to four guests.
“There will be sanitation stations, there will be masks available for folks who don’t bring them, our ushers will be helping to keep groups apart, our graduates will be sit spaced out on the field,” Humphrey said.
The largest ceremony will have about one thousand graduates and four thousand guests.
Local restaurants and hotels, said while they’re expecting a boost in business they don’t expect things to be a busy as before the pandemic because capacity restrictions are still in place.
“With Cal Poly restricting the number of tickets for each family, we’re not seeing the complete volume that we saw in 2019,” Welch said.
The Madonna Inn’s hotel and steakhouse are almost fully booked for the weekend. They even placed tables on the dance floor to keep them spaced out.
“[We’re] booked for the capacity that we can be at this point,” said Audrey Pearce, the Assistant Marketing Manager.
For restaurants with outdoor space, seating on patios is still restricted as well.
“Mostly it’s the social distancing protocols for the patios, which drops our capacity down by about 15 tables on our patio at novo and by about 10 tables at lunar red," Welch said.
Despite restrictions students are still excited and proud of their accomplishments.
“I was really nervous coming into this year, not knowing what was going to go on at the end of it but I am so excited I get to bring my friends and family and we get to celebrate graduation.” another senior Lauren Gerdetz said.
The university said they have over 4,000 graduates attending the ceremonies this weekend. Normally, they would have fifteen thousand people in the stadium.
Cal Poly is planning a graduation event for the class of 2020, the graduates who were not able to walk across the stage last year. That event is expected to happen next December.