To Music Fans, Friends and Fellow Venue Operators:
As we move into Washington State’s Reopening Phase 2, you may have questions about the newly issued venue guidelines. We all want to get back open. We miss live events too (so much!) but it is each venue’s individual responsibility to decide how to proceed and whether to open. Some venues may find it practically feasible, safe and economically viable to reopen. It is absolutely their choice. Many will decide not to open and we wanted to address some of the reasons why venues may remain closed:
-There is still present and evident concern for the safety of fans, artists and our staff. We acknowledge that there is by its nature an increased risk of exposure and transmission in the live events industry and anywhere that larger groups of people are gathering.
–Safely operating a venue during a pandemic is incredibly challenging for artists, fans and venue staff. It requires advanced health & safety systems, sanitization products/tools and PPE.
-Regulations require a minimum of 20 feet of physical distancing between performers and the audience. This is physically impossible for many venues.
–Maximum capacity of 25% (up to 200 people) is not cost-effective for most venue operations or equitable for artists or fan ticket pricing. Most venues would operate at a loss under these guidelines particularly with increased staff needs and operational expenses.
-The 6ft physical distancing requirement reduces most independent venue capacities to under 25%.
-Venues are fundamentally different than restaurants and bars. While bars and restaurants may safely serve a handful of small groups (often in the same household), venues depend on gatherings of 50 to 500 to 5000 experiencing performative moments—often “ONE NIGHT ONLY”–for only a few hours.
-The two-hour time limit on all events further curtails a venue’s business model.
-Rules will be evaluated every 2 weeks. Many are concerned about opening and then being required to close again thus further disrupting the lives of staff, artists and fans with cancelled or postponed events.
Thank you for your continued support of music venues; the road to full and feasible reopening is still dauntingly far away and depends on public generosity. Keep Music Live is currently issuing independent venue grants thanks to music fans in our community! Proceeds from Elysian KML beer and KML merch (available online and at Bartell Drugs) and donations will provide ongoing and direct relief to music venues. Find out more at keepmusiclivewa.com.