Reopening rules presenting challenges for music venues
KITCHENER -- Live music was one of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Musicians are allowed to start playing again in some places with new rules as the province moves forward with its reopening plan.
The bands need to be a safe distance from their audience and play at a lower volume. The audience also needs to space out and maintain proper physical distancing.
The new rules have some venues wondering if reopening is even worth it.
Starlight Social Club in Uptown Waterloo won't be opening its doors again after the pandemic. The owner confirmed the venue will stay closed for good after 15 years in business.
The Grand River Jazz Society is meeting this week to decide what new measures to put in place if venues reopen in September.
"One of the proposals is split it into two shows -- an early show and a later show -- so we can get more than 50 people," Cameron Bates with the society said.
Lana's Lounge is preparing to reopen this weekend at half capacity.
"We don't want to appear that we're pushing folks," co-owner Shan Bricker said. "We want them to be comfortable being here."
The band will be a safe distance away on a different floor when guests visit again. The lounge has mounted a new big screen TV so people can enjoy the show.
"We have a good 40 feet between the singers and the diners," Bricker said.
Shane and Stacey Le Guse are looking forward to performing at the venue again. Their Honky-Tonk Cocktail Hour formed after the pandemic again. The couple was forced to do gigs online only and temporality leave the rest of their band.
Some nightclubs aren't sure if reopening without dancing is worth it. The Drink is weighting the pros and cons and hoping for customer feedback.
"If we did this type of event where people weren't allowed to come in and dance, is it something people would have a demand for?" Manager Chad Yurkin said.
Maxwell's Concerts and Events in Waterloo said it would like to reopen, but studies show 75 per cent of concert goers don't want to go to indoor events yet.
"We want to be part of the solution and not the problem," an emailed statement from the venue said in part. "If it means we have to wait longer to reopen, then that is the right thing to do."
Live music is allowed now that the region has moved into Stage 3. The audience must stay physically distanced unless they're in the same social circle and there must be a physical barrier between the performers and the audience.