Every morning for the past three months, Eddie Owen, owner of the Red Clay Music Foundry, has gone to Georgia’s COVID-19 website to check if he can reopen his venue. His last show was March 7, days before the pandemic shut down the United States. Owen, 65, previously owned Eddie’s Attic and has been involved in the music business since 1983. He says he’s never seen anything like the current state of the world. “First to close and last to open” is the reality facing every musician, club owner, promoter and concertgoer.
For many small venues, the pandemic has left a long-lasting financial sting. Live-performance venues can reopen Wednesday, July 1, at a fraction of their normal capacity with issued safety requirements based upon their fire code capacity.
A recent executive order from Governor Brian Kemp states that “all live-performance venues are strongly encouraged to adopt additional measures to those required below that are tailored to the specific nature of the type of performance venue and events hosted.” That vague language gives venues room to establish guidelines specific to their spaces, aside from the required Covid-19 measures listed, most of which begin with “to the extent practicable.” For attendees, this means putting a lot of trust in venues to ensure a safe experience.