Industry experts and venue owners in the UK are reportedly asking the government to examine a scope of measures designed to safely reopen the live music industry following the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a new Mirror Online report, a number of precautions are being considered by venue owners and promoters to properly navigate the reopening, including consenting to temperature checks and completing questionnaires about their symptoms.
Craig Hassall, chief executive at the Royal Albert Hall, one of London's most venerated concert venues, also said that disinfectant mists at the point of entry are being considered, pointing to South Korea to illustrate his point.
"The test case in Seoul–where a Phantom of the Opera production has continued running–has seen audience members walking through a light mist of disinfectant, having their temperature taken, and filling in a questionnaire about their symptoms and recent places they’ve visited," Hassall told Mirror Online. "If we’re to find a solution, it is going to be a combination of numerous measures, from increased access points to hand sanitisers, Perspex screens and PPE for staff."
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Hassall also said that, from a financial standpoint, social distancing is simply not feasible for venues to continue their operations. "We’ve done some modelling using social distancing rules and our capacity would be reduced to around 27% with two-metre distancing, and around 36% with one-metre," he said. "In order for us to break even, and therefore be sustainable as a charity, we typically need a capacity of around 90%."
Lucy Noble, who chairs the UK's National Arenas Association (NAA), echoed Hassall's remarks about the fiscal unviability of social distancing measures. "Even with one metre social distancing we’d be looking at a 30% capacity which is not workable for most of our shows which are large scale touring rock and pop," she said. "We do believe that 2021 could be busy across all the arenas because many tours are being postponed, but this doesn’t help our situation now where there is absolutely no income to our venues. We are at serious risk."