UPDATE: Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson will issue a cease and desist order for Travis McCready’s socially-distanced May 15 concert. Live events like this and of a maximum capacity of 50 attendees are not permissible until May 18. The expected capacity of the McCready gig was expected to be 250 attendees and the venue had not met the required Department of Health standards per a Fox 16 report.
It was recently revealed that Travis McCready, frontman of the country-rock outfit Bishop Gunn, was planning to play one of the first socially distanced concerts in the state of Arkansas on May 15, but he’s getting some pushback from the state’s governor.
According to Rolling Stone, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has been critical of the plan for the show, as the state does not have plans to lift the ban on gatherings of more than 50 at concerts until Monday (May 18). McCready’s concert, put on by TempleLive, expects to host 229 people this Friday (May 15).
“We’ve looked at their plan and their plan is insufficient,” Hutchinson said at his Monday press conference, adding, “That concert does not have our approval. It would happen three days before the authorized date, and it has a few other problems.”
TempleLive had recently detailed their plan for the show, which included “fan pod” seating to help maintain the six feet of social distancing as well as other measures to maintain a sanitized concert environment.
In response to Hutchinson’s comments not providing approval, Temple Live issued a statement announcing their intent to still proceed. They explained, “In response to Governor Hutchinson’s comments today, TempleLive currently plans to conduct the Travis McCready concert at its Fort Smith, Arkansas, venue on Friday, May 15th, as scheduled. The Covid-19 precautions and practices established by TempleLive have accumulated interest from other entertainment establishments and are being adopted and implemented worldwide. We believe that the ‘Fan-Pod’ seating model along with other innovative safety protocols that have been adopted by TempleLive create a safe and comfortable environment, and are the next logical steps in bringing live entertainment back to the stage.”
Temple Live also detailed their protocol for the show on the event page. Aside from reducing capacity of the venue by 80 percent, the venue will be sanitized prior to the performance via fog sprayers. Masks will be available for purchase. There will also be one-way walkways in the theater managed by Temple Live employees. Bathrooms will be limited to a 10-person occupancy and all soap and paper towel dispensers will be “no touch.” Also certain bathroom fixtures will be closed to help maintain six feet of distance.
The venue also intends to take temperatures of attendees at entry points. All beverages for the show will be pre-packaged or come with lids. And during the event, Temple Live employees will be actively wiping down touch points in the venue and restrooms.
Though Hutchinson did not provide his approval for the show, Lance Beaty, president of Beaty Capital Group Inc., the parent company of TempleLive, says they will put on the show. “We believe that our discussions … with the state have been productive and will lead to a resolution that protects the rights of people to assemble, and will allow them to do so in an environment that protects the health and safety of the public, the artists and our employees,” he said in a statement.
Stay tuned to see how this plays out.
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