Arkansas To Allow Live Concerts, Fan Pod Experiment
Arkansas is among the first US states to reopen to live music this weekend. But restrictions and safety concerns are leading to some creative experiments.
On Tuesday, the Arkansas Department of Health announced that the state is preparing to relax its social distancing guidelines, allowing concert venues to open for audiences of less than 50 people.
“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,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “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.”
6 – 12 Feet Apart
The reopening, which is scheduled to go into effect on May 18th, covers indoor venues for commercial, community, or civic events and activities where an audience, spectators, or a gathering of people are present, such as concerts, plays, movies, lectures, presentations, conferences, conventions, sporting events, races, fundraisers, trade shows, and festivals.
Social distancing guidelines are still in effect and members of the audience and performers must all adequate spacing from each other at all times.
Those guidelines include maintaining at least 12 feet of separation from the performer and audience, monitoring all lines and queues to ensure that everyone stays at least six feet apart, spaced seating with only every other row of seats occupied, and a requirement that everyone except for children under 10 wear a face mask.
Performers may be without a face covering if they are 12 feet from each other.
Country-rock singer Travis McCready, frontman of Bishop Gunn, is already lined up for a performance scheduled for May 15th at TempleLive in Forth Smith.
The show, billed as an “intimate solo acoustic performance” will take place with precautions in place that include a reduced capacity of 229, down from 1,100; and face masks will be required for all attendees and will be on sale at the venue.
As well, tickets will be sold in ‘fan pods’ of 2-12 assigned seats, which will be spaced out from other groups.
The venue will be sanitized with fog sprayers, both before and after the show, as an additional precaution, TempleLive said.
Other safety precautions include limiting the number of people using the bathrooms to ten at a time, and prepackaging or providing lids for all beverages.