Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert, says he is hopeful that theaters and concert venues will be able to open in the fall of 2021.
Dr. Fauci addressed the issue during a virtual conference with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals over the weekend and said the return of live music and theater is a possibility, depending on the status of the vaccine rollout. In order for live venues to open, the country would need to reach herd immunity, which entails the vaccination of 70 to 85 percent of the population.
“If everything goes right, this will occur some time in the fall of 2021,” Dr. Fauci explained, “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.”
Fauci also discussed the various precautions venues and attendees would need to take in order to reopen and citing mask-wearing as a key factor.
“I think you can then start getting back to almost full capacity of seating,” he said, also citing proper ventilation in venues.
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Fauci’s comments came just days after the results of a study conducted in Spain proved that no COVID infections could be traced back to a live concert where proper precautions were set in place. According to Pollstar, the study took place on December 12 at the Sala Apolo in Barcelona. Volunteers were tested for SARS-CoV-2 on the day of the event and were asked to wear a certified N95 cloth mask while inside. Physical distancing was not required inside of the music venue. Participants were tested again eight days later.
“Attending a live music concert staged with a series of security measures that included a negative antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 done on the same day, was not associated with an increase in COVID-19 infections,” authors of the study claimed, adding, “Hopefully this data will pave the way to save live concerts during the COVID pandemic.”
The Foundation against AIDS and Infectious Diseases of the University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol in Badalona (Barcelona) conducted the study.It was funded by Primavera Sound.
Country superstar and reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Eric Church recently shared his hopes for the return of live music and shared that he was “confident” that 2021 will be the year that the virus will be put “in the rearview.”
“I think [there’s a] higher likelihood that we’ll be on a stage somewhere in the fall, late summer/fall, and then certainly into the fourth quarter,” he said. “So, I’m looking forward to that.”
Large concerts, live theater and other mass gatherings have been on hiatus since March of 2020 when COVID-19 infections began to spread across the United States.