The past few months have been unprecedented, not only for our industry, but for the entire country. But amid the COVID chaos, we’ve also seen unity, strength, and resilience. And, we’ve seen an abundance of creativity – everything from setting up COVID test sites in just a few days to turning unused buildings into temporary hospitals. We’ve also seen a tremendous outpouring of support from making personal protection equipment for essential workers to free groceries for industry professionals.
S.A.F.E. Management, a leader in the event security industry, was recently approached by CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), a non-profit founded by Sean Penn, to help facilitate FREE COVID-19 testing in the Home Depot Backyard at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. CORE, which is Los Angeles based, needed a partner that could help them rapidly staff up to meet their needs in an area they had never worked before.
The project moved very quickly. S.A.F.E. was contacted late on a Sunday night, the partnership was confirmed that Tuesday afternoon, and training had to be set up less than 24 hours from confirmation. They needed a quick, effective way to not only find staff members to work at the testing site, but to get them trained as well.
S.A.F.E. used the LASSO crew scheduling software to alert their staff of the opportunity and within only 3 hours they had 140 responses. An hour after closing the scheduling opportunity, they were able to confirm all staff and easily communicate training time information with their selected team members. “We found out quickly that the software was useful to allow us to do something we hadn’t ever done before,” said Aaron Schmitt, Managing Director of S.A.F.E. Management of Georgia. “Our management team was impressed when we shared the data on how quick the capabilities and turnaround were.”
Out of all 140 responses, they were able to train 70 team members that will fill 40 spots each day for at least 14 days. The training entailed preparing the site for operation the VERY next day! Team members assisted with layout and setup of the COVID test site, as well as learning about the steps of the process and the detailed responsibilities within each station of the operation.
Prior to LASSO, S.A.F.E. scheduled staff through a “very manual process which was time consuming and expensive,” says Shelli Hatcher, Senior Events Manager. The event staff has even given them feedback on the app. “They like that all of their information is in one place and they can get it on their phone.” We’re thankful these team members are working hand-in-hand with CORE to provide this essential service.
EventLA, founded by City Market Social House and Vox Productions, has also been able to utilize LASSO in response to the immediate needs of the Special Event, Live Entertainment, and Film and TV Production workforce impacted by the COVID pandemic. The not-for-profit organization has set up a temporary drive-thru food bank. Those that have been laid off or had their hours reduced can sign-up easily and schedule a time to pick up grocery kits through the LASSO platform.
They too acted quickly, founding the organization in early April, and assembling the food and resources needed for the food bank by April 9th. To date, they’ve provided 1,900 food kits (vegetarians included) which amasses to over 75,00 pounds of food! They’re putting together another 500 kits this week, but they need help with funding to continue the program. We encourage you (if you’re able) to donate via Venmo to EventLA Food Bank or by visiting the EventLA website. The amount of gratitude they’ve received from their donations has been overflowing.
“Hello Team! Thank you so much for my vegetarian box! I know how much work was put into this from the inception, turning to companies for donations, gathering staff and coordinating, building boxes and handing out these heavy boxes, etc. I’m deeply touched by everyone there. As a catering chef, there is not much out there as a lot of help is offered to restaurants employees. I truly appreciate this generous box. I will wait until I deplete this box and then hope to apply again. Thank you very much to everyone involved.,” said one of the recipients.
“Hello you gorgeous – generous humans! I know you are super busy, but I was compelled to write something more…thank you ahead for taking a moment and do let me know this was received. I just did a pick-up Wed, 4/15, and I had no idea how much was in that box until I arrived home. I was just so overwhelmed…I wept. It reminded me how incredible our industry is, and I miss you all so much especially since I live alone. I miss everyone so-so much. With that said, because I am a “party of one” I was able to help out a friend who was in dire need and gave him just about 1/2 (with masks on of course!). So, thank you for helping me help a friend I love and adore,” said another.
The shortage of personal protection equipment has been an issue for our frontline workers since the COVID pandemic began. Production Resource Group, one of the world’s largest entertainment and event technology solutions providers, has helped alleviate this problem by fabricating 300,000 plastic face shields for healthcare workers in New York City. And, they did this in just two weeks! Their scenic technology groups in New Windsor, New York adapted their skills from producing scenes for Broadway to forming plastic molds to create the face shields. In order to ensure the safety and security of their crew, they’ve applied social distancing directives by reworking traditional assembly line procedures.
Across the pond, PRG has been able to come up with a clever way to use the inventory they have stored in their warehouses. They have fully equipped a temporary hospital in the Berlin Expo Center in Germany using truss, television and film lighting, and other materials on hand.
Through innovation, improvisation, and creativity, these event and entertainment industry leaders have adapted to the current situation to positively impact our industry. We’re grateful to play a small part in these tremendous causes. If you live in the Atlanta area and need to get tested for COVID-19, you can register here. If you live in the Los Angeles area, sign-up here to receive a food kit. And if you’re able, please donate to EventLA here.