Originally published by Amy Fitzpatrick on 6 April
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed, not only the world, but especially the current scope of the public assembly industry. One thing it has not changed is the servant leader hearts of those venue professionals who power it. IAVM is not just an association, it is a family of 7,000+ colleagues who are working with local, state, and federal agencies to not just monitor the current crisis, but to advocate and open doors for those affected by the pandemic where possible.
Here is a quick update of what is happening and what IAVM and its members have been doing:
What IAVM is Doing
IAVM has been hosting very successful town hall webinars for members, averaging ten a week. The webinars are sector specific and allow members to speak openly regarding the challenges they are facing, as well as sharing ideas for solutions. In addition, sector happy hours are offered through social meeting platforms, each evening of the week, to humanize the circumstances we find ourselves in. In addition, our Australian members have a coffee break webinars to afford our VMA members a chance to learn and socialize.
IAVM has created multiple channels to disseminate information and for resource sharing. We currently have two COVID 19 working groups, both in concert with the CDC and DHS. These working groups are currently providing necessary digital resources, which are housed in an online clearinghouse on the IAVM website. These groups are also looking to the future and creating a ramp up document to prepare our members for the plethora of events being re-scheduled to Q3 and 4.
Through the use of the VenueNet, IAVM’s popular discussion forum, members have been able to openly discuss challenges and successes, ways in which their venues are giving back, strategies for the future, and so much more.
IAVM recently secured the assistance of TwinLogic Solutions, a lobbying firm, to assist in seeking federal financial stimulus dollars for our members under the CARES Act. A FACT SHEET, detailing how the relief legislation could assist our members and member venues, was provided to all current members, as well as an update on the future steps regarding our advocacy for more stimulus assistance.
IAVM Members are Stepping Up!
One of the things that our members do best is to volunteer to give back to their local communities. They are playing a key role in fighting the pandemic, while serving the communities in which they reside. The following are just a few ways in which our members, and their venues, are giving back where it is needed most:
- The Vicksburg (MS) Convention Center (managed by VenuWorks) team worked diligently this week to create CDC compliant masks to be distributed for the community, local medical outlets, and emergency responders. They brought sewing machines from home, donated fabric, and put their heart into providing this valuable offering.
- The United Center in Chicago has become a “logistic hub” for the city, state, and federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the arena itself along with the outside campus will be used in helping food distribution, first responder staging, and collecting medical supplies.
- The local emergency operations center in Asheville, NC, requested to use the Harrah’s Cherokee Center as a point of distribution for supplies, materials and food packs. Additionally, they are today setting up a local COVID- 19 hotline for FAQs, etc., and utilizing the venue’s box office phone system and staff to manage
- The Louisiana Department of Health is using the Burton Coliseum Complex as a testing location. Presently, the testing operation is intended to serve a five-parish (county) region. Lastly, our government agency committed to covering all fees for anyone tested without insurance. — Jason Barnes, director
- Foodlink is utilizing the Floreano Convention Center in Rochester, NY, as an emergency food supply box packing center. — Meredith Howie, event coordinator
- The Richmond (VA) Raceway is being used as a storage location as the county collects supplies and distributes them. We are not charging them for the facility usage.
- I have a group of 275 Volunteers ages 50 to 89. They are amazing people! Every other day I send them a message, a “how to” on how to get groceries delivered to their doorstep. I also send funny pictures of my grandbaby. Next, I will send training points by email that we can all keep adding to and engaging with. Luther Burbank Center, Santa Rosa, CA
- The Convention Center Authority in Nashville announced a donation of $500,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund on behalf of the Music City Center. The donation will support those in the hospitality industry as well as others in the community who are facing hardship due to the virus. Music City Center is making the contribution solely through its operating revenues
- There are so many more that we do not have room to voice our pleasure in the heroes that are stepping up in a major way.
Each new day during this unprecedented time in our industry brings different ways in which IAVM is called to educate, advocate for, and inspire public assembly venue professionals, worldwide, and its members are asked to step up and serve the communities in which they serve.
Our venues were created as an economic engine and a wonderful place to gather the community. Now, our venues have become a greater asset to their community as venue professionals step up to a greater task, fighting the COVID 19 pandemic and serving those who have been negatively affected by this unprecedented virus.
Stay strong as we navigate these troubling waters. I am proud to be associated with IAVM’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and volunteer leaders who make us strong and relevant.
Brad Mayne, CVE
IAVM President & CEO