NORFOLK, Va - As Governor Northam continues to loosen gathering restrictions, concert promoters are eager to get back to business after a long, quiet year.
"It’s great news. We’ve been sitting idle over the last year. As an industry, the concert industry and event industry was the first industry that was really shut down completely. It hasn’t reopened, and it has been the hardest hit," Ken MacDonald said, the President of IMGoing Events.
Starting May 15, indoor venues can operate at half their capacity or at 1,000 people, and outdoor venues can operate at 50%. That’s up from 30%.
Ken MacDonald’s event management company put on several concerts at the Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion in Portsmouth before the pandemic, and he says the easing of gathering limits is a step in the right direction.
"At the Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion in Portsmouth, we’re excited to get back to doing live shows with live music and seeing guests back in the building. It will be fantastic," MacDonald said.
Thursday, Governor Northam said if COVID-19 cases continue going down, he will lift all capacity and social distancing measures in mid- June.
"It’s very good news for us. We’re really excited. We’re really looking forward to May 15 and then obviously the announcement today, we’re really looking forward to June 15," Dr. Larry “Chip” Filer, the City Manager for Norfolk, said.
Filer says the new gatherings will impact the economy, but he wants venues to operate in a safe way.
"We will definitely see some incremental boost to the business community, particularly restaurants and venues," Dr. Filer said.
Josh Coplon’s event management company converted to pod-style shows when the pandemic first started, and he says he will continue that style throughout the summer.
"It’s gonna be a dozen shows over the course of Memorial Day to Labor Day that are being called 'pod shows.' So, they're social distance pod shows, which means someone buys a ticket by the pods for either two-person, four-person or six-person pods," Coplon said.
MacDonald has already sold out a show for December and says he’s glad to see things getting back to normal.
"We stayed in business. We kept our people employed. It was super tough. I can’t think of anything that we’ve gone through that can even compare to this," MacDonald said.
Coplon says the easing of gathering limits is a win for all parties involved in putting on concerts.
"Selling more tickets means generating more revenue, which ultimately means generating more money."