For many Americans, the hardship of being isolated from loved ones has been a reality for over a year as a result of the pandemic, but at Clear’s “Day of Families” event on May 6, more than 100 family members and friends finally experienced the in-person reunion they’d been waiting for. In partnership with United Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy, Clear, a secure identity platform, leveraged its Health Pass service to deliver a COVID-safe reunion event hosted by Neil Patrick Harris at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
Celebrations kicked off on May 5 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where 34 fully-vaccinated seniors from across South Florida prepared for a private chartered flight to New Jersey where they would reunite with loved ones. The seniors enjoyed a welcome reception at United Airlines’ Fort Lauderdale United Club lounge before boarding the flight. Once on board, they experienced a water cannon salute featuring massive jets of water crossing over the plane as it prepared for departure.
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Following their arrival in New Jersey, the seniors were transported to Marriott’s Renaissance New York Chelsea property in Manhattan, where they received a “wall of applause” from hotel staff and Clear employees as they entered the space. The group then received dinners to take back to their complimentary rooms, where they could rest up before the big day.
“The whole idea was bringing people together and it wouldn’t have worked if so many different partners hadn’t come together,” says Laura Brounstein, vp-content and storytelling at Clear. “I think for any one entity to pull this off with no help would be hard. You need good partners who know their space, then you can lean into what is going to optimize for safety and happiness.”
On May 6, the seniors’ friends and family members from the tri-state area gathered at MetLife Stadium. Each of them used Clear’s Health Pass to securely link to their negative COVID-19 test results in order to be admitted into the venue. The service, available on the brand’s mobile app, uses biometrics to link a person’s identity to heath records or surveys that verify the individual is COVID-free before entering an event (Clear provides the technology, while event organizers specify entry requirements, like a negative COVID-19 test).
Inside the stadium, countless hugs ensued as the seniors were finally reunited with their loved ones. Attendees included Carmen Iglesias and Julian Fernandez, who interacted with their four-year-old grandson, Mateo Urena, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, and sisters Michelle Wasserman and Susan Weinberg, who reunited with their late brother’s children for the first time since losing him to COVID-19.
In addition to catching up with friends and family, attendees experienced musical performances by Broadway stars Mandy Gonzalez and Seth Rudetsky of “Hamilton” and Kerry Butler of “Mean Girls,” photo activations and a lunch featuring family-style platters (a novelty amid the pandemic). Clear provided a GIF booth, while United Airlines created a photo op that transported attendees to various travel destinations. There was also a heart wall, where attendees could write down what the day meant to them on blue, heart-shaped sticky notes, then attach them to the installation. Festive balloons, swag bags and dining tables arranged in the shape of Clear’s logo rounded out the event touchpoints.
“It was important to be infusing good, positive energy into every moment. So if people did get nervous, which is understandable, there would be something to buoy them forward,” says Brounstein. “When we think about what everybody has been working through in the last year, and it’s just been up and down and you’re hearing such terrible news out of other areas in the world, getting to create something that was all about warmth and love, and doing so without the significant risk factor, just felt fantastic.” Agency: Superfly, New York City.
A Day of Families at MetLife Stadium:
Photo credit: Getty Images, Lori Gutman, Gina LeVay