Missouri Governor Allowing for Concerts to Return Monday
Missouri looks like it could be the first state to see the return of concerts. The state's governor, Mike Parson, detailed the first stage of his recovery plan for Missouri, which will go into effect starting Monday (May 4) and it includes the return of concerts and other large gathering events.
In the frequently asked questions section of Parson's "Show Me Strong" plan, there is the question about attending events at a large venue, stadium or attending movie theaters. The response is, "Yes, however seating shall be spaced out according to social distancing requirements."
Parsons also stated that this approach related specifically to "amusement parks and attractions, concerts, drive-ins, funerals, museums, school graduation and weddings."
The next question concerned enforcement of the social distancing measures, to which the reply was: "The State is working with local health authorities to support the order. Local health authorities and law enforcement maintain the same jurisdiction and authority they have always had."
Parson's detailed plan also addressed local health authorities imposing more restrictive requirements, explaining, "Yes. This Order establishes the minimum requirements that must be complied with statewide. Local health authorities may enforce more restrictive public health requirements for businesses or individuals."
The plan also allows for retail stores to serve customers in-store at limited capacities and for restaurants to re-establish dine-in services while adhering to social distancing measures. The current order from Parson will remain in effect through Sunday, May 31, but will likely be re-evaluated before it concludes and altered depending on results as the state starts to relax the pandemic restrictions.
A representative from Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services clarified to Billboard that concerts do not have to adhere to the same occupancy limitations as retail businesses, but event organizers are expected to keep concertgoers six feet or more apart to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"There are currently no limitations on social gatherings as long as necessary precautions are taken and six feet of distance can be maintained between individuals and/or families," the Show Me Strong recovery plan reads.
Though the Parson "Show Me Strong" recovery plan allows for the return of concerts starting Monday (May 4), several of Missouri's larger cities and venues will not be returning concerts this coming week.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson plans to keep the city's Stay Home order in effect until further notice. "We will continue to be guided by data, not dates," Krewson said via social media.
"We are currently assessing the details of the announcement and the latest information from health experts," says Matt Gerding of FPC Live, which runs the Columbia concert venue The Blue Note. "We hope to chart a path to reopening as soon as possible but have not determined the timing of that just yet."
Last month, Zeke Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives and director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania was among the experts polled on various aspects of getting daily American life back in motion. He insisted a return to normal functions would have to be "done in stages and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back."
Emanuel suggested large event gatherings would likely be the last thing to return, estimating a "fall 2021 at the earliest" timeline for concerts to return. That estimate was later echoed by California governor Gavin Newsom who also predicted a fall 2021 return for large events, adding that, "The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine."
The mayors for Los Angeles and New York also alluded to the fall 2021 timeline in interviews as well. "Until there's either a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention, or herd immunity, the science is the science. And public health officials have made very clear we have miles and miles to walk before we can be back in those environments," said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, while New York mayor Bill DiBlasio told CNN, "I've got to see in my city real steady progress, even to start to think about relaxing some of those social distancing standards even a little bit. I want to get people back to work, of course. I want to get kids back to school. But I think it will take months to go through that whole sequence. And the last thing I want to do is gather 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 people in one place, that's like the exact opposite of social distancing."
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