Partners include Delaware North, Populous and Gensler

Oak View Group, parent company of VenuesNow, has announced the formation of a blue ribbon task force to develop facility sanitization standards and propel the reopening of U.S. live entertainment venues.

Partners on the task force include hospitality and food service management leader Delaware North; water, food safety and infection prevention specialist Ecolab; design and architecture firms Populous and Gensler; law firm Kauff McGuire & Margolis; the University of Washington; commercial cleaning franchise company Jani-King; consulting and advisory firm Teneo; and global engineering design firm ME Engineers.

The task force’s work will be founded on five pillars: developing standards along with partner company Delos; testing solutions and technology; advising working groups on standards and technology; advising on capital expenditure; and developing an auditing and certification system.

Based on this work, the task force will develop a program for live entertainment venues to follow as they open up, which can be executed in a three-phase approach: creating minimum sanitization standards, creating a comprehensive training program for all staff and service providers, and developing and implementing an annual audit program and certification process.

Some of the policies being considered by the task force include operation in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health department requirements; reviewing staffing policies to allow longer periods away from work for suspected infection; improvements on messaging regarding entry time, requirements of mask usage, methods of health and security checks; and employee and vendor training on new policies.

“Our team will be influential in implementing the new standards that will be adopted across the entire live entertainment industry,” Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, said in a statement. “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.”

OVG is a leader in the global venues space as it oversees the Arena Alliance and is leading the development of projects in Belmont, N.Y.; Austin, Texas; and Milan, Italy, as well as the redevelopment of the New Arena at Seattle Center.

Leiweke is also a co-chair on the Well Building Institute’s Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations initiative.