Oak View Group Seeks to Set Standard for Post-COVID-19 Arenas


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles-based company that develops and invests in sports and entertainment venues today announced the launch of a blue ribbon task force whose aim is to safely reopen America's arenas, stadiums and other live entertainment facilities as soon as possible.

Oak View Group, run by Tim Leiweke, said it has brought together a task force of industry leaders from all facets of facility operations, including sanitization technology and equipment, research and development, design, food and beverage, capital expenditure management and content.

The group said it will provide development and operation protocols, guidance and ongoing auditing of all COVID-19 and other infectious disease mitigation to ensure Americans can return safely to live entertainment facilities.

“Our team will be influential in implementing the new standards that will be adopted across the entire live entertainment industry,'' Leiweke said. “The health and safety of fans, artists, and touring staff -- during and after this evolving global pandemic -- remains our top priority. By aligning ourselves with global companies, all which I consider the best in their respective fields, we are developing and executing the necessary standards to protect anyone who may enter live entertainment venues.''

Leiweke did not offer a guess as to when the group would be prepared to declare arenas ready to open beyond a reference to “the 2020 calendar year'' in the statement.

The task force plans to review and test more than 180 products, solutions and technologies in its efforts to make sure venues -- the seats, concourses, restrooms, concession stands, locker rooms, staffing spaces and clubs -- are sanitized and securely in line with government health recommendations. It aims to set industry standards to properly sanitize facilities as well as provide guidance on recommended safety protocols for all venues. That includes ongoing screening of employees for COVID-19 symptoms, as well as other security upgrades.

The task force includes:

-- Delaware North, a hospitality management and food service management company;

-- Ecolab, specializing in water, food safety and infection prevention technologies and services;

-- global design and architecture firms Gensler and Populous to oversee facilities design;

-- Kauff McGuire & Margolis, which specializes in the practice of labor and employment law;

-- Jani-King, one of the world's largest commercial cleaning franchise companies;

-- global engineering design firm ME Engineers;

-- global consulting and advisory firm Teneo, which will oversee management consulting; and

-- the University of Washington, which will lead research and development.

Delos, a company focused on “wellness real estate'' which recently announced a partnership with the Oak View Group, will work with the task force on standards.

The task force expects to develop an auditing system that will lead to certification for venues and also hopes to advise facilities owners on capital spending to implement solutions.

Opening under the task force guidelines will follow three phases: setting operating standards for cleaning; comprehensive training for all staff and services providers involved in producing events; and the development of an annual audit and certification process.

“The process our task force uses will be key in achieving the highest standards of safety and health and create a plan with a framework for action that will be rolled out to arenas, stadiums, amphitheaters while meeting the current criteria of the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), local governmental and health and medical professionals,'' Oak View Group COO Stephen Collins said.

Last week, Oak View Group announced that it had teamed with The International WELL Building Institute, a certification body for healthy buildings, to co-chair its newly launched WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management.

Photo: Getty Images


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