Reopening Guidance for Austin Music Venues Released to Support COVID-19 Recovery Planning
AUSTIN, TX - In partnership with the City of Austin, the Austin cohort of the Reopening Every Venue Safely (REVS) campaign has released best practices to help music venues reopen safely.
This music venue best practices guide was developed by local industry representatives with input from local leaders about steps the Austin music venue community should consider taking during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guide is not advocating reopening venues at this time. Instead, this living document is the first step in a longer process and is intended to give venue owners and operators time to digest the information, make informed decisions, and enter into a dialogue with artists, staff, guests and the City before safe reopening occurs.
The Reopening Every Venue Safely Austin Best Practices Guide outlines practical actions venue owners and operators can undertake when they decide it is time to reopen safely. The guide includes best practices for what artists, venue operators, and production staff should consider prior to, during, and after a show for tasks such as how to manage gear, a notification system in the event of positive cases, and ways to manage crowds safely.
“We partnered with local music industry colleagues and got input from the City to create best practices for when music venues can reopen. We expect this document to evolve as the situation changes with COVID-19,” says Don Pitts with Music Cities Together.
Austin-Travis County remains in Stage 4 of the COVID-19 risk stages. ICU hospitalizations and ventilator access remain a concern, and there is continued risk for further shutdowns if personal safety precautions are not taken. At the moment, Austin Public Health (APH) officials are warning the public that large gatherings at live events and even smaller family gatherings pose a high risk of spreading the virus. Austin-Travis County residents are strongly urged to continue to stay home when possible, wear face coverings, and practice social distancing.
While the City and County continues to manage the immediate health crisis, the community must simultaneously plan for what reopening safely will look like when it is time to do so.
“We are working closely with our colleagues and partners in the industry to ensure understanding of the state and local Orders, and right now it is best to stay home and take safety precautions. We are also considering what reopening will look like and planning for the future of live events in the Live Music Capital,” says Sara Henry with Austin Center for Events.
The City, County and local industry leaders working together is key to understanding the future of live music and the special events industry in Austin, Texas.
“The situation for Austin music venues is daunting. We’ve seen a study that shows as many as 90% of local music venues could close permanently by October,” says Bobby Garza with Music Cities Together. “We know we can’t reopen right now, but we need to be prepared for the new normal when reopening happens. The REVS guide is intended to help our industry plan for what that looks like.”
The City of Austin is also developing Event Reopening Guidelines for the broader event and venue industry in partnership with APH, Austin Convention Center, Austin Center for Events and others. These guidelines will include both best practice recommendations and new COVID-19 health and safety plan requirements for event and venue operators of all types. Industry professionals can expect to see these new guidelines and requirements within the next month.
Further resources for the creative sector economy include a series of available grants. COVID-19 relief funding opportunities, including the new Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund Reopening, can be found at www.atxrecovers.com. A total of $6 million has been dedicated to COVID-19 creative sector recovery including $3.5 million from the CARES Act, $1.5 million from general fund emergency reserve, and $1 million from Creative Space Assistance Program.