Restrictions could hamper arts & entertainment venues once they reopen

WWNY Restrictions could hamper arts & entertainment venues once they reopen

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Starting in April, arts and entertainment venues will be allowed to open their doors, but only a limited amount of people will be allowed inside. Will it be enough to jumpstart live events?

The Clayton Opera House is one of the most popular places in the north country to catch a show or concert. But the seats inside have been empty for more than year because of the pandemic.

That might be changing soon as Governor Cuomo announced in a news release that arts and entertainment venues can reopen with a 100 person indoor limit or 33 percent capacity beginning April 2.

“It’s only 100 people, it’s not a lot of people. It’s difficult to do much with that. But it’s good news that we can start doing things. I think it’s very important that we need to try to open our doors as soon as possible,” said

Julie Garnsey, executive director, Clayton Opera House.

Garnsey says everything on the 2021 calendar is tentative, but they’re hoping to reschedule artists that had shows canceled last year.

The president of the Watertown Lyric Theater, Jonathan Cole, says the limited capacity could impact bottom lines.

“This is great that we’re going to be coming back but we also need to make sure that it’s going to be something that’s going to be fiscally beneficial to these organizations,” he said.

The state does allow a higher indoor capacity - 150 people - if everyone in attendance can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Garnsey says the opera house would need a larger capacity to pull off bigger shows. But to get the ball rolling, they can bring in some local artists and play movies on the big screen.

“So there are some things we can do, but it’s very minimal what we can do,” she said.

There are better options for outdoor entertainment. The limit there is 200 people - 500 if all attendees can show proof of a negative test.

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