Owner & Founder of Stadium, David McAtamney, discusses events after the pandemic…
These have been strange times for everyone as we have all had to endure the impacts of Covid on our personal and professional lives.
Hopefully we are now emerging from the other side of the pandemic and certainly life is getting back to somewhere near normal.
For our staff at Stadium, that means we have very much been out on the streets working on a series of events from the MotoGP at Silverstone through to the Godiva Festival in our home city of Coventry – and everything in between.
After everything we have been through, there were bound to be some changes in behaviour. I think we all hoped they would be for the better as we had all appreciated the efforts of the NHS and other key workers and had looked out more for our neighbours and relatives, as well as witnessing the trauma many have been through in losing loved ones.
However, rather sadly, one thing that our staff up and down the country have noticed, as events have returned, is an undeniable rise in levels of anger.
The anger in a section of people attending events is way outside any levels of normality. We have been undertaking work at events for more than a decade and we know what the norms are – but there has been a massive increase in anger.
As we are involved in road closures on event days around venues, we are, of course, used to people being frustrated. No-one likes their day-to-day life being inconvenienced, but our staff are highly trained and experienced in dealing with those situations.
We work to a plan which is approved by police and local authorities and is well publicised in the local area around each venue, so people naturally adapt.
Over the course of a year, if we have one minor incident where one of our staff is hurt, maybe brushed by a slow-moving car, then that is it.
However, during August alone we have had four instances where people have driven deliberately at my staff intending to do harm.
It is a combination of a variety factors – people have got used to there being no events for 18 months, roads have not been closed, they have been effectively locked up at home and have had all sorts of pressures to deal with.
Their mindset appears to have changed, and now we are free to return to some sort of normality, it has had an impact of people’s behaviour and tolerances.
I hope that, as things settle down, so will that level of behaviour. If not, it will mean more hostile vehicle mitigation measures being put in place which in turn means more disruption for people and no-one wants to see that.
I have to keep my staff and event-goers safe – that is the priority. Many of our staff have been without work as events have been cancelled and they, like everyone else, have had their lives impacted by this dreadful virus.
They are merely doing their job to ensure everyone remains safe and thereby allow events to happen. I would just ask people to show them the same decency, understanding and tolerance as they would anyone else working to ease us back to normality.