Concerts with Social Distancing? Two States Are Going to Give it a Try


Getty General view of audience during KIIS FMs Jingle Ball 2013 at Staples Center on December 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA.

As the country slowly starts re-opening during the continued coronavirus pandemic, two states so far said they would even allow concerts again. Missouri and Arkansas’ re-opening guidelines both set out plans for allowing live concerts and events where large crowds generally gather.

According to a press release from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office, “indoor venues such as theaters, arenas, stadiums, and auction houses that are designed for large groups may reopen on May 18 on a limited basis.”

The Arkansas Department of Health gave the okay for those venues to open for audiences of 50 or fewer people but “strict social distance” measures must be in place for audience members and performers.

Gov. Hutchinson said at a press briefing Monday, “We are attempting to move past the restrictions that have been necessary during this pandemic, but we must do so in a manner that is based on solid data. I am confident this measured reopening is the best approach that will allow us to enjoy these entertainment venues again. As we cautiously emerge from this difficult time, we will keep an eye on data for any evidence that we are moving too quickly.”

In Missouri they are allowing people to go to events at large venues, stadiums, and movie theaters, but they say seating will be spaced out according to social distancing requirements.

Social Distancing Measures at an Upcoming Concert Will Mean Everyone Must Wear a Mask & Have Their Temperature Checked

Ticket MasterSeating chart at TempleLive in Fort Smith. The blue dots are where seating is available. Eighty percent of the seats are closed in an effort to keep people safe distances apart during the coronavirus pandemic.

Travis McCReady of the band Bishop Gunn is slated to play at TempleLive in Fort Smith, AK on May 15, which is three days before the state is officially allowing concerts again (More on that later). According to information on Ticket Master’s page about the concert, social distancing and sanitizing measures will be abundant:

Templelive COVID-19 operating protocol capacity reduced 80% from 1,100 to 229. The venue will be sanitized by an independent third party prior to each event via fog sprayers. Masks will be required by all attendees and employees. Masks will be available for purchase. Per CDC guidelines one way walk-ways in theater managed by TL employees. Six feet of separation from all seating groups or fan pods. Ten person limit in all restrooms. All soap and paper towel dispensers will be no touch. Closure of bathroom fixtures to maintain six feet of distance during use. Temperatures of attendees to be taken at entry points. All beverages will be prepackaged or have lids. TL employees will be actively wiping down touch points in venue and restrooms.

McCready is one of the first performers to play a show with such strict enforcements and some are skeptical of how a concert would work with all those rules in place. After all, concerts are generally a place where people let loose, are constantly close to other people, and spend a fair amount of time lined up in close proximity to one another at bathrooms and concessions areas. How do you even drink your beer with a mask on?

Hundreds of Concerts Have Been Canceled or Postponed Worldwide Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic but Some Are Ready to Try Again

Concerts started being canceled as far back as January and that trend has continued through May. Billboard has an extensive list of all the shows that have been canceled or postponed because it’s unsafe for large crowds to gather, but smaller shows may be on the horizon for some cities.

Mike Brown with TempleLive told Fort Smith TV station KNWA, “We just had to think forward to getting back to some sort of normalcy because music and entertainment is a big part of people’s lives.”

McCready posted on Facebook on May 4, “Love y’all and will always do everything I possibly can to be there and do my duty as an entertainer and ultimately a server of my gift to you, a gift that does not belong to me for I am merely a host!!”

The people of twitter, though, wonder how a venue can pull it off.


Brown told KNWA it’s not about the money. “The financial side of it is not something we’re really concerned with. We wanted to give something back to the community. This is not a thing to make money with, but it is a step back towards more normalcy and best practices that we can institute.”

As far as the concert being scheduled three days before the governor concerts can start happening again, Brown said, “We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it.”

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