Want to go to an indoor concert in California? It's going to be a long wait

Many event venues are teetering on the brink of financial disaster.
FRESNO, Calif. -- It's been one year since people in California have been able to attend an indoor concert or other live performances and we could be waiting for a while longer.

The state now says we first need to fully exit out of the color-coded tiers that serve as the blueprint for reopening California, the so-called 'green tier.'

Still, experts remain cautiously optimistic that we could potentially attend indoor concerts again before the year is up.

The state has provided reopening guidelines for theme parks and outdoor sporting events but has yet to mention how or when indoor entertainment venues can reopen.

Industry leaders say without a plan in place, these facilities will continue to lose money.

"We've drafted a letter that went to the governor's office earlier this month and we're hoping to have those guidelines. We're calling on him to release those. We have our plans right now for a safe reopening," said Director of Marketing for the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center Ray Roa.

California is one of the few states to not release safety guidelines for the reopening of live indoor events.

With most venues already teetering on the brink of financial disaster, there is growing concern that revenue brought in by concerts and other live entertainment will begin going to parts of the country that are reopening quicker than the Golden State.

At least 11 states have lifted all COVID-19 capacity limits for indoor gatherings and live events.

"The state of California is losing around $4.1m a month because we can't reopen and we're seeing business go to states that are open," said Roa.

Save Mart Center General Manager Sean McElhinney added, "I think the human toll has been even more painful. We've had 700 employees out there who haven't had a place to go to work."

The Save Mart Center, which is home to Fresno State athletics and major box office events, is down $6 to $7 million in lost revenue after having to postpone or cancel close to 150 shows this past year.

"There's nothing being publicly announced yet but we're working behind the scenes. We have dates with backup dates and backup dates to those backup dates," said McElhinney.

As California works to get more residents vaccinated against COVID-19 and allow the reopening of more outdoor events, industry experts remain hopeful that live indoor entertainment will return in some form by late 2021.

"We're not going to open those doors until we're in lockstep with local, state, and federal government guidelines," said McElhinney.
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