There’s finally light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Here’s what to know about recent developments and the status of aid from the government:
U.S. COVID-19 deaths have fallen to the lowest point since March 2020 — a sign that vaccinations are working. The seven-day average for newly reported deaths dropped to 432 on June 3, according to the Wall Street Journal. “This milestone reinforces that the U.S. is in the homestretch of the epidemic, thanks to vaccinations,” Andrew Brouwer, an assistant research scientist in epidemiology at the University of Michigan, told the outlet. Nearly 65% of adults in the U.S. have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
As of June 1, several members of the National Independent Venue Association have received approval notices from the Small Business Administration. The SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program allocated $16 billion in federal relief to independent venues and promoters. “We’re grateful that the first award notices have been issued and appreciate that SBA Administrator Guzman said there will be a ramp-up of notifications,” the NIVA statement said.
Managing COVID-19 event restrictions
Here’s how venues and creators in the events industry are safely reopening their business as pandemic restrictions loosen.
On weekends, the Lane Field Park Street Food Market in San Diego tempts patrons with drinks, coffee, desserts, and live music. The event organizers say that, due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, picnic rugs and lawn games aren’t available, and a reduced number of vendors are participating. Patrons are asked to stay home if they’re sick, wear a mask, wash their hands or use sanitizer, and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.
Concerts and other shows are happening again at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver. Masks are no longer required, and the venue is operating at full capacity, which is 500 patrons. Its website says: “Although we are more or less ‘back to normal,’ we will still continue to respect individual wishes of the amazing people we’re working with on a show-by-show basis.”
Earlier this week, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog performed at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, New York. In order to gain admittance, the venue is requiring one of the following: Personal ID alongside a valid vaccination card proving vaccination was completed more than 14 days prior; a negative result after taking a rapid test outside the theater for $15; or use of New York’s Excelsior app, a digital passport that verifies vaccination. According to the venue, there are more than 20 hand-sanitizing stations located around the theater, and temperature checks are conducted at the entrance.
On June 12, the Kansas City Summer Beer Fest will take place at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, featuring more than 60 breweries, 150 beers, and food trucks. Social-distancing is required, and face coverings must be worn when not eating or drinking, event organizers say.
Booze cruises are back on Lake Michigan. The organizers who oversee events on the Chicago Party Boat say they take “your comfort and safety very seriously.” The boat is operating at reduced capacity, which allows plenty of space for patrons, and employees self-screen to ensure they have no symptoms of COVID-19. Restrooms are sanitized regularly, and there are plastic barriers between employees and customers at the bar. Masks are required except when eating or drinking, even for those who are vaccinated.
“Seated apart … and laughing together.” That’s what Unexpected Productions Improv says about its “Seattle Theatresports Improv LIVE!” shows in Seattle. The venue in Pike Place Market is operating at 35% capacity, and masks are required. Patrons are asked to wait outside until 15 minutes before the show, and to not drink until seated. Then, they dispose of or recycle their own trash in the proper receptacles, which eliminates the need for other people to touch their cups or bottles.
Regional events industry regulations
Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening with events industry reopening rules and restrictions in different regions across the US, where restrictions are easing at a rapid clip:
As New Yorkers enjoyed Memorial Day weekend, the city’s museums broke attendance records, movie theaters sold out, and jazz clubs were packed, the New York Times reports. The Metropolitan Museum of Art attracted more than 10,000 visitors on both Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend. And the Comedy Cellar, which requires patrons to be vaccinated or to test negative for the coronavirus within 24 hours of an event, had to add an extra show due to high demand.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall has a concert on the calendar for the first time since closing more than a year ago. On June 26, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra will play a free show for invited guests and 200 winners of a giveaway open to those who are fully vaccinated. Attendance will be capped at 50% of the venue’s capacity, and there will be at least one open seat between parties. There will be no food or drink available on-site, and no intermission to discourage gathering. The performing musicians will be seated 6 feet apart and wear masks (with the exception of the wind players). “One of the concerns we have is we don’t know how audiences will react to in-person performances,” LACO Executive Director Ben Cadwallader told the Los Angeles Times. “Outdoors is one thing, but sitting in an enclosed space, even an expansive one like Disney Hall, are people going to feel comfortable? One of the great things about this concert for us is it enables us to test the waters.”
Coachella is back: The festival will be held April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2022. “We are optimistic and planning for the festival based on nationwide trends of declining COVID-19 cases and increased vaccinations as well as input from local health officials,” organizers say on Coachella’s website. “It’s too early to tell exactly what precautions will be in place at the festival. However, your health and safety remain our top priority, and we continue to monitor the evolving health regulations and are working closely with state and health officials to develop COVID-19 protocols for the festival.”
Philadelphia is entering a new phase of the reopening process. Restrictions were lifted on June 2, which is nine days earlier than expected, but an indoor mask mandate remains in place. There are no longer limits on capacity or social distancing requirements at any businesses or events. That means stadiums, restaurants, and other venues can operate much like they did pre-pandemic. The news is “an important moment for our entire city,” Valerie Camillo, president of Business Operations for Wells Fargo Center, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “At the beginning of the pandemic, the Wells Fargo Center was one of the first and most significant buildings in Philadelphia to close its doors, so our full reopening sends a clear message that our city is back.”
Philly area concert promoters are speaking out about the news that they’re back in business. Things are completely insane,” said Jesse Lundy of Point Entertainment, which books venues such as The Locks in Manayunk. “Every band that ever existed wants to tour. And they’re starting to reach back into summer. ‘Hey, have you got July 29 available?’”
As Seattle reopens, city officials are encouraging — and making physical room for — activity in the streets. A new Block Party program will allow “residents and community-based organizations [to] close a residential street to make more room for fun and play up to three days a week, for a maximum of 12 hours per week during daylight hours,” according to a press release. There will also be free permits for outdoor cafes, merchandise displays, vending locations, and other outdoor activities. The city is encouraging weddings or parties in the streets, as well as neighborhood events and art walks.
Starting June 14, the Seattle Mariners are allowing up to 30,945 fans to watch games at T-Mobile Park. That includes 26,265 tickets reserved for fully vaccinated fans, who will sit in non-socially distanced areas, and 4,680 seats in socially distanced sections. Those who provide proof of vaccination are not required to wear a mask. Musical events will begin at the park on Sept. 6.
International events industry insights
Here’s a look at what’s happening with events industry reopening rules — and pandemic developments — worldwide.
Parts of India are easing coronavirus restrictions, as new cases and deaths decline. Markets and shopping malls in New Delhi reopened this week, for example. Offices can also reopen at 50% capacity, though working from home is still encouraged.
Spain has announced a plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions on clubs and bars. Regions with a 14-day infection rate below 50 cases per 100,000 people can keep nightclubs open until 3 a.m., with some rules still in place, including a mask mandate. Venues in medium-risk regions will need to close at some time earlier than 3 a.m. and will remain under capacity restrictions. Not everyone approved of the plan. “The only good news is that they let us open, but obviously it is not worth opening until 2 a.m.,” Ramon Mas, head of the Spain nightlife association Espana de Noche, told state broadcaster TVE.
Japan’s Creativeman Productions announced that it will be moving forward with its Supersonic music festival, which had been postponed last year due to the pandemic. It will take place on Sept. 18 and 19. The lineup will include foreign artists — making it the first Japanese festival since the pandemic to do so. Specific performers have not yet been announced.
Events industry inspiration and further reading
Eventbrite’s blog is full of resources and tips that can help event creators like you navigate the return to in-person events — or master your approach to online events. Here’s what’s new:
You don’t have to be a math whiz to keep your event planning budget on track. Here’s your ultimate guide to creating and managing an event budget.
If you’re planning an outdoor extravaganza, you will want to have a backup plan in case the weather decides not to cooperate. We’ve got some tips on key considerations.
Planning an online event? Here’s our readiness checklist to make sure you’re prepared for the expected and the unexpected during your next virtual gathering.
The pandemic put concerts on hold. Now that they’re returning, are pod concerts set to become the next big trend in live music?
How will vaccines and changing case counts affect event planning this summer and beyond? We’re keeping our pulse on the latest updates. You’ll find insights and regular updates here.
Take your events to the next level with Eventbrite Boost — the all-in-one event marketing platform built to save you time and handle all your marketing challenges. Learn more here.
Eventbrite’s experts and fellow creators can help you navigate every aspect of the event-making process with this curated collection of events.
by Angela Haupt