The summer concert series ended before it even began. Now as the country starts to reopen and a sense of new normalcy begins, what is in store for live events? As performers try to pick up the pieces after their entire industry shut down overnight, it is difficult to switch on the lights and start the music once again.
Live events — concerts, theater performances, roadshows, theme parks, fairs, and more — have taken a huge hit in light of coronavirus shutdowns. Behind the scenes, there are technicians, directors, security, and promotional teams in addition to the performers themselves. While many industries have options to pivot their business plans to align with COVID-19 safety guidelines, live events do not have that luxury. Yes, there are virtual live events popping up, but they are to accommodate the public, not the employees and do not bring in nearly enough revenue to replace live shows.
Live performances are the lifeline of many industries, and the music industry is the first of those to come to mind for many. In Colorado alone, the music industry generates 1.5 billion annually and employs more than 16,000 Coloradans — 16,000 Americans who were out of a job overnight. Gov. Jared Polis said in an interview, “Colorado’s music industry and rich pool of talent is an important part of our culture, economy, and the Colorado way of life.” While the community has come together to provide relief for individuals affected by these shutdowns, it is not enough.
All over the country, from small county fairs to multimillion-dollar amusement parks, American livelihoods are at risk. Let’s take Disney World, known as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” which employs 77,000 people — all of whom stopped receiving pay all together in early April. Disney was set to reopen July 11, 2020 with new practices in place to protect guests and employees, but many employees are still worried it is too soon to reopen as cases in California and Florida continue to rise. As a result, Disney announced, “it would postpone the scheduled reopening of its park in Anaheim, Calif., which had been set for July 17.” But are these measures enough to ensure the safety of the employees, or will their paychecks come with a cost?
It is clear that consumers and employees are still unsure about their safety even as the country reopens. While companies weigh the pros and cons of reopening, our economy is still teetering. If Congress does not act, millions of Americans and thousands of companies will lose their income, and the economy as we know it will change forever. Live events and amusement parks are a part of our daily life — whether it is going to a community event in the park or saving for a family vacation to Disney World, they provide a source of happiness and entertainment, bring people together, and employ millions of Americans. Congress must act quickly to provide necessary funds to help our country return to daily life — even while we stay six feet apart.