Pollstar Live! Tackles COVID Testing & Vaccine Validation On Site: ‘We Wanted To Set A Standard’

Pollstar Live
– Pollstar Live!
COVID-19 testing and vaccine validation is being done onsite at the event this year.

“They said it couldn’t be done,” Oak View Group Media & Conferences President Ray Waddell announced during the opening remarks of Production Live!, the one-day precursor to Pollstar Live! June 14.  It appears putting on a major industry conference as the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be subsiding can, in fact, be done.

Getting into Pollstar Live! at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles means either testing negative or proving vaccination before obtaining credentials to attend the program. Conference attendees are able to either schedule a test, which can be conducted in about 10 minutes onsite, or prove vaccination by filling out relevant info provided on the COVID vaccination documentation.
“The initial, real challenge to tackle was that there’s a lot of people that do only testing or only vaccine validation,” says said Dr. Elizabeth Hawk, an MD, Nuclear Medicine Physician, Neuroradiologist and Stanford Hospital’s faculty member, who was brought on recently to help Oak View Group determine how to best put on the annual Pollstar Live! conference during COVID. She addressed that challenge by linking up with Capture Diagnostics.
“Partnering with Capture has been really powerful because we’ve been able to explain the unique need to provide both, in concert at the same time and develop a system to deal with both testing and vaccine validation to create a space that was as safe as possible,” Hawk adds, noting the high level of privacy and thorough verification done through the platform.  
Although the kickoff of Production Live! happened the same day California largely eased mask and distancing mandates, Hawk said the goal was to err on the side of caution and with the goal of making delegates and hotel personnel feeling as safe as possible. Planning months in advance with ever-changing guidelines and timelines surely played a factor as well. 
“When thinking thoughtfully through bringing a bunch of people in traveling from different places, gathering together where food and drinks are served, we wanted to err more on the side of safety and caution, because we are right on the cusp of changing,” Hawk says. “We really wanted to set a standard for a commitment as an industry to a shared culture of wellness and shared commitment of health and safety. So, going a little bit above and beyond to show how we can responsibly create a space, even though it may be a little above the regulatory requirements changing over today, was really important to us.”
Also important was working in tandem with the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which has hosted the Pollstar Live conference the previous two years as well. 

“The beauty is we have a great relationship with the hotel, we’ve done the conference here for a number of years and some of us have personal relationships with management of the building,” adds Russell Gordon, Oak View Group VP of event services. “That made it easy to come in and understand their protocols and for us to align with them. Their goals and our goals are very similarly aligned, so it was easy to come in and explain our hopes and expectations and for them to balance out our protocols with theirs.”
Adds Hawk, “We wanted to put a plan in place that won a large level of trust from the hotel, the department of health, our leaders, that during a changing and evolving environment, we were holding ourselves to the highest standard.”
The response has been positive, and lines so far low with many already vaccinated and pre-reigstering ahead of time. 
“For a lot of people, it’s just lowering that anxiety level, helping them feel safe within the community,” says Capture Founder and CEO John D’Orazio. “Knowing now that mask mandates are changing and things like that, we’re still trying to stay diligent, but everyone has had a great experience and positive attitude. The patients going through and knowing it’s for their best interest have been overwhelmingly supportive.”
Pollstar Live! proper kicks off this evening with an opening reception, followed by opening remarks tomorrow morning and a full slate of programming.