As the summer concert season approaches and vaccination rates improve across the country; bars, restaurants and venues are beginning to return to their pre-COVID capacities. Regardless, it’s never been more important to stay up to date on the quickly changing standards for public safety in whichever way you enjoy live music. As of May 14th, the CDC has lifted its mask requirements for those who have already been vaccinated for two weeks. Of course, it is still important to follow local and state guidelines, and to err on the side of caution. With vaccinations offering a return to normalcy and a surplus available in the U.S., it is easy to get excited – here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate the new music scene.
As of now, most restaurants and bars are in the process of reopening to the public and many have gone back to booking live local entertainment. If vaccinated, it can be safe to attend live music at these businesses and assuming that the other patrons are vaccinated, you may not need to socially distance or wear a mask. Often though, restaurants and bars may not be requiring proof of vaccination, in this case it would be reasonably cautious to wear a mask if not eating or drinking. Remaining socially distant can be helpful too, especially as it will be more likely that people will have their mouth open or may be talking loudly, staying at your table instead of standing in a crowd is preferred.
Venues are more likely to require proof of vaccination upon entry or as a condition of ticket purchase, this seems to be protocol more often for venues whether indoor or outdoor and not local festivals. Indoor venues are inherently more risky than outdoor concerts but ideally if everyone is vaccinated, it should be theoretically safe. Still as with many restaurants and bars, venues may have their own regulations and it is always safest to remain socially distant with a mask when possible, or to enjoy a virtual live stream from home.
If a venue, bar or restaurant is hosting their entertainment outside, that is always the preferred option. Open air live music can be safe amongst those vaccinated but if unsure of others vaccination status maintaining 6 feet of distancing is preferred if unmasked. If in a crowd, it is still better to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination level and may be required by venues and festival attendants. If a band is playing in a tent, make sure one side of the tent is open air, otherwise it is just as safe as being indoors.
Festivals this summer are going to look different than they did pre-COVID as well. Most likely the festivals you attend will have limited food and beverage sales on top of a diminished capacity. This may mean more room to spread out or sit down when enjoying music, but many festivals may still require mask wearing at some point during attendance. If allowable, bringing your own water or water bottle may be helpful if concessions are limited. As with other venues, avoiding larger crowds can be helpful and you may find most festivals attempting their own crowd control restrictions once inside the area.
As the summer moves on and more and more of the public is vaccinated, these restrictions may become increasingly lenient, especially depending on population and COVID infection rates for where you live. As always, it’s important to keep informed and to celebrate the return of live music responsibly. Vaccination is safe and the best way to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19 and importantly, the best way to support struggling artists this summer.