Leadership / 12.22.21
The Year in Safety and Security: From COVID to Crowding, a Year of Challenges
Pollstar (12/13/12) Speer, Deborah
For venues, crowd control was the biggest test this year, which began with operators stepping up policies and protocols for COVID mitigation in order to reopen, continued with sometimes inconsistent requirements for vaccination or negative test proofs, and culminated in the deadly crowd surge at Houston's Astroworld festival in November. Meanwhile, mostly unmasked events have taken place since Lollapalooza was successfully held in Chicago this summer with more than 100,000 daily attendees. With shows moving indoors, states continue to impose sometimes highly disparate crowding regulations and constraints: New York City recently announced its "Key To NYC" program will require New Yorkers 12 and older to show proof of two vaccine shots, barring the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, to enter entertainment venues; children aged 5-11 must show proof of at least one dose. Nevertheless, the industry appears to have positively managed the pandemic situation, with major events like Lollapalooza reporting relatively low numbers of COVID infections. Still, the risk of further tragedies like Astroworld remains as the behavior of cooped-up young people returning to live events can be unpredictable. "We really need to take an all-hazard approach to crowd behavior and crowd dynamics," says Mark Herrera with the International Association of Venue Managers. With terrorism also a viable threat, Stratoscope founder Dan Donavan says venues need to account for the security of lines into and out of events, and post-event clustering. Moreover, COVID health and safety protocols like social distancing and timed entry impact length and duration of lines, creating another potential security gap to be addressed.
Read the full story from Pollstar.
Tags: Music , News , Broadway , COVID-19 , Coronavirus , Reopening