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While getting your hopes up over an optimistic prediction that's reliant upon a quicker vaccine rollout than we got over the holiday period is up to you, Dr. Anthony Fauci has weighed in on when he thinks concert venues and theaters could open back up. At this moment—which obviously is subject to change—Fauci thinks they could reopen their doors by "some time in the fall of 2021."
Note that this forecast factors in that, when venues reopen, attendees will almost certainly still have to wear masks and social distance, and further precautions may be necessary in indoor sites with poor ventilation. It's also dependent upon a large chunk of the population (estimated at between 70 and 85 percent) being vaccinated between now and then.
Set up your expectations accordingly.
As reported by The New York Times, Fauci's comments came during a virtual conference set up by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals on Saturday. He's a doctor and I'm a nobody, so the best move here seems to be to include his full quote without lots of transition sentences.
As he said of the 70-to-85 percent vaccination rate leading to an entertainment return:
If everything goes right, this [will] occur some time in the fall of 2021, so that by the time we get to the early to mid-fall, you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience… I think you can then start getting back to almost full capacity of seating. We’ll be back in the theaters — performers will be performing, audiences will be enjoying it. It will happen.
While this could be good news for people with social lives, it's also undoubtedly a prediction that people who own said venues are crossing their fingers about. As stated plainly by Variety, many venues have been shut down since March 2020. In an effort to at least soften the blow of those financial losses, the Save Our Stages Act set aside nearly $10 billion for independent concert venues across America.
The Act was part of the larger COVID-19 Relief Bill that passed in late December.
As noted above, Fauci's comments also touched on ventilation issues that some venues may run into. He cited a German study, conducted in August, on an indoor concert that said those events had little impact on spreading the virus if ventilation is adequate, and there is limited capacity/strict hygiene protocols in place. The Times also writes that Fauci said venues could go the way of the airline industry, and make it a requirement for those coming to shows that they provide a negative test result to actually get inside.