The US live events industry, including Live Nation and Broadway League, have come together to collectively offer their venues, staff, and expertise to the COVID-19 vaccination effort.
In a letter to the newly inaugurated President Joe Biden, the sector explained that due to it effectively being shuttered because of the pandemic, it is able to off the “full weight” of the industry to support vaccine distribution beginning immediately.
The group, which also includes AEG, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), Oak View Group (OVG), and We Make Events, said in the letter that “we have vast resources that, if fully utilised, could provide invaluable mechanisms in our country’s vaccine distribution.”
Other signatories include the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the National Independent Talent Organisation (NITO), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), and the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).
Dayna Frank, owner and chief executive of First Avenue Productions and board president of NIVA, said: “Since the pandemic shuttered our industry almost a year ago, our buildings and our co-workers have been paused, unutilised, and struggling.
“These vaccines are our best chance at putting COVID-19 behind us, and our experiences organising events and managing crowds now put us in the unique position of being the best prepared and most qualified industry to support the vaccination effort and get this country on the road to recovery.”
While pointing to the fact that many venues are already working on the state and local level to implement vaccine programmes, the collective notes event venues make ideal community vaccination sites as they are located in most urban, suburban and rural communities, often near transit lines and with easy access to parking.
It states: “Live events is one of the best prepared, best equipped, most experienced industries in America to manage and control large crowds in a rapid, organised fashion. Moving people in, out, and around a public gathering space swiftly and safely is the foundation of our industry.”
It also highlights that its familiarity using ticketing systems for advanced notification, timed entry and crowd management could be an asset to improve patient experience before and during vaccination as well as on-site management.
The letter notes that an estimated 95 per cent of live events industry businesses and workers have lost nearly 100 per cent of their revenue, and are “ready and willing to get to work immediately.”
Michael Rapino, president and chief executive of Live Nation, added: “It’s human nature to come together in good times and bad, and our industry is committed to doing everything in our power to bring people together again – not just for events, but for every aspect of community that we have been missing.
“Live Nation has venues across the country that are capable of managing critical onsite elements of the vaccine rollout and we are eager to pitch in and be part of the solution.”
The letter concludes by pointing to the fact that the industry has been closed down for nearly one full year due to COVID-19. It states: “Please let us now go to work to protect public health. We share your goal to get America back to work, school and in gathering places of all kinds quickly and safely. We are ready to meet to discuss how we can help as soon as you and your staff are able.”
Image: Live Nation