Live performances are making a return to San Luis Obispo County this weekend, but new CDC recommendations mean they’re making some adjustments.
On Saturday, the Performing Arts Center will reopen after a more than year-long hiatus due to the pandemic. Due to the lack of live performances, organizers say they are seeing a big demand in ticket sales.
“Who would’ve thought it would be 16 months with no live events?” said Chris Miller, Performing Arts Center of San Luis Obispo Managing Director.
To prepare for reopening, the Performing Arts Center invested in a new air conditioning system that allows a fair amount of fresh air for its audience. This week, they plan on following the CDC’s recommendation to require everyone to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
“We opted to require masking for all of our patrons for the foreseeable future, including tomorrow night’s events,” Miller said.
Also reopening for the first time since the pandemic is the Vina Robles Amphitheater with Joe Bonamassa on Saturday night. The venue says concert-goers will have a touchless experience wherever possible, including ticketing, concessions stands, and bathrooms.
The California Mid-State Fair has been hosting concerts on its main stage. The fair's spokesperson says they will continue to follow county and state guidelines, but not necessarily the CDC’s.
Are all of these protocols enough?
“The Delta variant is clearly much more contagious,” said MedStop Urgent Care Medical Director Dr. Brian Roberts. “If you’re in an outdoor setting, it’s still very clear that that’s much safer than an indoor setting in general.”
With the Delta variant being partly responsible for a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County, Dr. Roberts says the best thing people attending these events can do is get vaccinated and wear a mask.
“The vaccine is an exceptionally good vaccine, but it can’t stop the virus from going into you if you’re in contaminated air. A mask can both help stop the source from pushing the virus out and block it from going into you,” he said.
Local venues hope patrons will continue to stay safe so that these live performances can keep the community together.
“There's no way you can replace that live experience with audiences and artists in the same room at the same time,” Miller said.
Both the Performing Arts Center and Vina Robles Amphitheater are set for events through December. They’re hoping everything will go according to plan.