New York governor Andrew Cuomo has recently reported that as soon as February 23rd, larger tri-state venues will begin their reopening procedures. Cuomo’s proposed plan is to open up main venues like Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for 10 percent limited capacity to resume sporting events and eventually, live concerts. With strict regulations for event attendees including a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the event, mandatory enforcement of mask requirements, as well as temperature checks upon venue arrival.
Although some New Yorkers are shaking heads in disapproval of the governor’s plan, Cuomo released a statement in efforts to further explain saying, “The truth is, we cannot stay closed until everyone is vaccinated" the governor said yesterday, "the economic, psychological, emotional cost would be incredible" (via NBC New York). To help address the concerns of New Yorkers, the governor has also assured that with reopening set to happen on February 23rd, social distanced seating will be mandated for all planned sporting events.
The governor’s plan has also raised questions of when live music can return and smaller venues can open up, as the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected small businesses all over the area. Although controversial amongst New Yorkers, Michael Rapino-CEO of Live Nation Entertainment-has been in full support of Cuomo’s proposal and said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for taking this step to start the return to live events in New York. While operating concerts at scale will require much greater capacity, the opportunity to start bringing thousands of fans back into arenas and amphitheaters creates new opportunities for artists and fans to reconnect” (Rolling Stone). Maybe New York live music venues have a chance to make a comeback...just maybe.