Leadership / 01.11.22
Omicron: The Live Industry Strategizes Response to New, Highly Contagious Variant
Pollstar (01/07/22) Brown, Eric Renner
As with previous outbreaks during the pandemic, the highly transmissible omicron variant has galvanized the live industry to consider whether events can move forward. With cases mounting in New York City, Phish postponed its four-night New Year's run at Madison Square Garden (MSG), as did The Strokes for their concert at Barclays Center. The city then tightened its capacity from 58,000 to 15,000 for its Times Square ball drop on Dec. 23, adding a mask mandate. On the other hand, Knicks basketball games at MSG went on as scheduled, and the Avant Gardner mega-club in Brooklyn hosted several thousand people for a 27-hour electronic dance music blowout. Similar events played out nationwide as organizers evaluated risks and safety protocols, and postponed or moved ahead with shows. One ray of hope is growing scientific consensus that omicron is less severe than the original coronavirus strain or variants like delta, and that vaccines continue to be effective against hospitalization and death. Adding to optimism is mounting evidence that the omicron wave will be over fairly soon, and this has deterred politicians and public health officials from effecting shutdowns. However, artists, venues and promoters will increasingly be responsible for implementing vaccine protocols, while additional testing for entry could be further normalized.
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Tags: News , COVID-19 , Coronavirus