After COVID-19 became widespread in March 2020, venues and musicians canceled concerts across the country.
The pandemic isn’t over but a lot of places are starting to open up venues to hold live concerts, according to media reports. In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, concerts will look quite different, depending on the jurisdiction.
Cities in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee are allowing venues to reopen and concerts to resume. But each state’s restrictions for large gatherings are different.
Here’s what people can expect when attending live concerts.
Several venues in Pennsylvania are reopening to the public, including the Pennsylvania Miller Symphony Hall, the American Music Theatre and more, according to the York Daily Record.
All counties in the state are in the “Green Phase” of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan, the state’s website says. In this phase, “all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) open at 50% capacity.”
People are also required to wear masks in all public places.
Indiana will enter Stage 5 of its reopening plan on Sept. 26, WTHR reported. Gathering size limits will be removed but events with 500 or more people have to send a “written plan” to local health departments, according to WTHR.
The state is also allowing indoor and outdoor venues to operate at full capacity.
The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra has too many members to perform indoors based on the state’s guidelines, the Chicago Tribune reported. But that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to perform.
With fewer musicians, the orchestra is holding free outdoor concerts at a local park, according to the newspaper. Attendees are still required to wear masks and social distance.
“We are trying to mix it up and have an eclectic type of program to try to attract people who haven’t gone to the symphony in a while or have never gone,” said Barwegen of Bourbonnais, a 12-season member of the orchestra, according to the Tribune.
The state’s reopening plan, “Restore Illinois,” limits gathering sizes based on what phase each county is in, according to the state’s website. Entertainment businesses, including “cinemas and theaters” are only allowed to “open with capacity limits and [Illinois Department of Public Health] approved safety guidance” in Phase 4.
Phase 4 also allows all outdoor recreation activities to take place.
Scotty McCreery, a country music artist, held a concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Sept. 4, playing to a crowd of 125 people, Rolling Stone reported.
“We’ve never played a show where they’re so spread out, everybody’s wearing masks,” McCreery told the magazine. “It was just different. Once we got out there, it was a blast. You couldn’t see their mouths smiling, but you could see their eyes were smiling.”
The Ryman and a few other venues opened in “varying degrees” this summer after Nashville “loosened Covid restrictions,” according to the magazine. Most of the venues are still limiting capacity, checking people’s temperatures, requiring masks and keeping bar and food services closed.
The state requires entertainment venues to limit capacity to 50% in order to allow for social distancing, Tennessee’s coronavirus resource website says. Organizers should also “strongly encourage” or require attendees to wear face coverings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines how organizers should regulate large gatherings like concerts on its website.
“The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading,” the agency said.
The larger the gathering, the more at risk people are of catching COVID-19. While the CDC recommends people stay home whenever possible first and foremost, it recommended a few practices event organizers should use to reduce the spread of coronavirus, including:
- Employees and attendees should be encouraged to wash their hands frequently as well as covering coughs and sneezes.
- Masks should be required for employees and encouraged for attendees.
- Soap, water and hand sanitizer should be in full supply and organizers should “post signs in highly visible locations that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs.”