Dr. Fauci says concert venues could see crowds return by this fall


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As the coronavirus vaccines rollout across the U.S., many people are wondering when venues will fill up with fans listening to live music again.

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s estimate is based on 70-85% of the population getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Fauci thinks concert venues and theaters could reopen their doors by “the time we get to the fall of 2021.”

It’s not music to the ears of anyone hoping to attend a spring or summer concert — though venue operators remain hopeful.

“As long as cases keep going down, I’m going to keep being optimistic about it,” said Robert Alvis, the general manager of the Crest Theatre in California.

Alvis said the concerts currently on the calendar are 2020 shows that have been rescheduled for this year.

“Now some of those shows that have been postponed going on two or three times are now starting to just go, ‘We’re moving to 2022,’” Alvis said.

In the meantime, Alvis said he is looking into scheduling movies on an off-site, outdoor screen, as well as other alternatives.

“Hopefully, when we get to the red tier when we’re allowed to have people inside, we’re hoping to do some live stream concert stuff,” he explained. “Trying to be as creative as we can to build that bridge from here to there.”

Also helping to bridge the gap is the recently-passed Save Our Stages Act, which provides which provides relief for independent concert venues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“They had a bi-partisan understanding that these independent venues are the quickest that can go away and they’ll be the longest to come back,” Alvis said. “So, we’re very fortunate that it got passed in the last stimulus. And we’re hoping that when we apply for that grant, we’ll get some much-needed revenue.”

Dr. Fauci also said ventilation is something many venues will need to consider before reopening their doors.

“The kind of airflow that essentially blows up and out as opposed to on top of the people,” he said.

That’s where Alivis says his venue has a built-in advantage.

“We’re actually fortunate with how old our theater is. It was built when you were allowed to smoke indoors,” Alvis explained. “So, there’s a giant ventilation system in the attic used to suck all the smoke out of the building. So, we can turn that on and, essentially, suck all the air from inside the auditorium out through the roof, and you’re constantly then getting fresh air in from outside.”

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