Dave Brower, CEO and president of Argus Event Staffing, is hoping that his team, which oversees security at most Denver music and sporting events, will get back to work soon...but only when it's safe.
And only when there actually are events.
“Things at Argus have been interesting over the last few months due to the shutdown of events,” he says. “The really neat things we’re starting to experience now are the conversations with clients about a return to work.”
When will that be?
“That’s the million-dollar question,” says Brower, who notes that the company still has a few clients with active contracts. “Ultimately, it will be up to public health officials, and city and state guidelines will have to be adhered to."
Governor Jared Polis, who noted that the setup at bars and nightclubs is incompatible with fighting the pandemic at a July 9 press conference, has indicated that large events and concerts are not coming back until there is a vaccine, a cure or sufficient herd immunity. Still, Polis has also suggested that there are possibilities of Rockies fans being allowed back in Coors Field, if Major League Baseball games begin as planned.
Brower's business, which runs security for large-scale events in Denver and Atlanta, will be able to weather the storm no matter how long venues are shut down, he says. In part, that's because it furloughed most of its workers, other than a handful in human resources and accounting. Brower says he's been in touch with furloughed staffers, who tell him they miss being on the job. And he can't tell them when they'll be able to return.
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“It’s out of our control," he says. “Much of my messaging is: Let’s control what we can control. If we can’t control it, there is really nothing we can do. Between March and early July, what I’ve tried to do is provide our team members updates as best I can without over-promising. I can’t look into a crystal ball and tell when events are going to take place.”
While Argus will have a limited say in when and how concerts reopen, the company is trying to get ready, preparing to meet all the best practices advised by health departments. Employees will no longer log in to work through touch machines, and will instead swipe their badges. Instead of training sessions taking place on site, they will be held remotely.
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One of the biggest issues facing businesses that have reopened or stayed open through the COVID-19 pandemic are mask ordinances, which some people claim are an unconstitutional limit on their civil liberties. As a result, workers and security guards have been berated, attacked, even murdered. Argus guards are anticipating dealing with such situations.
"If we are charged with making sure those folks wear their masks, that’s what we'll do," says Brower. "That’s a safe practice. That’s what the experts tell us."
In the meantime, Brower says he and his team are glad the conversation has shifted from shutting down, canceling and rescheduling live events to talking about how to bring them back.
There's a lot he's looking forward to: "Seeing people again. Seeing fans smile. Seeing co-workers do what they do. Watching people enjoy the passion of a live event. It’s woven into our DNA as social creatures to gather. That is, in and of itself, exceptionally exciting."