The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), AEG, Live Nation, and an array of other organizations in the live entertainment industry have signed an open letter to President Joe Biden offering to help with Covid-19 vaccine distribution.
Noting the Biden administration’s aim to vaccinate 100 million Americans over the next 100 days, the letter offers up venues — which are otherwise empty due to the pandemic — staff and other resources to aid this effort. “While we have been effectively shuttered by the pandemic, we have vast resources that, if fully utilized, could provide invaluable mechanisms in our country’s vaccine distribution,” it reads. “In fact, because we are shuttered, we are able to offer the full weight of our industry to support vaccine distribution beginning immediately.”
The letter goes on to note that many venues are already working with state and local officials to aid vaccine distribution, and it highlights why these spaces are ideal for this endeavor: “They are located in most urban, suburban, and rural communities, often near transit lines and with easy access to parking. Our interiors are clear span with bright work lights and empty standard refrigeration systems. Due to the nature of our business, our buildings and workforce are accustomed to patron queuing and crowd management.”
Along with NIVA, AEG, and Live Nation, the letter was signed by the Broadway League, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the International Association of Venue Managers, the National Association of Music Merchants, the National Independent Talent Organization, OVG Facilities, Bandit Lites, Oak View Group, Save Live Events Now, and We Make Events.
In a statement, Dayna Frank, NIVA’s president, and the owner and CEO of First Avenue Productions, said: “Since the pandemic shuttered our industry almost a year ago, our buildings and our co-workers have been paused, unutilized, and struggling. These vaccines are our best chance at putting Covid-19 behind us, and our experiences organizing 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.”
Live Nation president and CEO, Michael Rapino, 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.”
In aiding vaccine distribution, the live entertainment sector will also help ensure that it’s able to return to business as usual as soon as possible. While the return of live music is still plagued by an array of unknowns, many believe concerts and other shows will be able to start safely taking place once the U.S. reaches herd immunity with approximately 70% of the country vaccinated.