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State restrictions impact local performing arts groups

Posted at 7:22 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-17 00:27:21-04

Local performing arts theaters are among the places struggling during the pandemic.

The County of San Luis Obispo has been in a lower COVID-19 tier for a few weeks now, and while that's alleviated restrictions for some local businesses, local theater is still struggling to find ways to reopen.

"Right now the restrictions we are operating under is live music and live performance is not allowed at any reopening in the colored tiers within the state and in the county," explained Anna James Miller, San Luis Obispo Symphony Director.

She says that not being allowed to reopen is impacting business and that as a result, they have had to make cuts in staff.

Having only 50 percent of their budget to work with, the San Luis Obispo Symphony has tried to get creative in an effort to stay afloat.

Anna says one of their plans was "to have 30 musicians on stage here at Performing Arts Center (be) six feet apart... and to get COVID tested beforehand."

Theater performers also say they have had a difficult time.

"For theaters like SLO REP and for local choirs, not being able to perform right now is extremely hard,” said Ashlynn Emerson, San Luis Obispo theater performer.

The County of San Luis Obispo is operating under state guidelines that make it more difficult for live performances to happen under the COVID-19 tier the county is currently in.

SLO County Public Health officials say they will continue to advocate at the state level for more opportunities for impacted industries to reopen.