Musicians and medical experts attempt to create new safety protocols for future live events

The arts industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, losing about $45 billion in California, but a possible sound solution may be underway.
IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- The coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses out of work.

Nearly a half-million performing arts jobs have been lost in California due to the difficulty of producing music with the mask requirement.

This is in addition to the state's whopping $45 billion lost in the industry.

There has been no call to reopen live events soon, but many in the industry are frustrated the state has yet to offer new protocols for future live events.

"It's going to be a sequential process and without that guidance it's very difficult to know how to plan for it and how to budget," says Orange County Pacific Symphony President John Forsyte.

Musicians and medical experts are now coming together to create a sound solution.

The Pacific Symphony turned to UCI and its vast network of experts in infectious diseases, to develop their own safety protocols and hope to be a model for how to produce safe live events.

"There's a village of people looking out for how to make the symphony musicians safe when they come back in the building to record, and then gradually as these guidelines are developed to bring our patrons back in the building," says Forsyte.

Dr. Karen Edwards, Chair of Epidemiology of UCI, worked closely with the pacific symphony, a complicated effort due to the diversity of instruments.

"The problem of course are the wind and brass players, like trumpets and the flutes, and the clarinets. They cannot wear a mask and play their instrument. So we've had to work with the symphony to come up with a plan to keep everybody safe," she says.

Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point is another local business to receive help from UCI in recreating a detailed safety plan.

UCI feels its work is critically important as a member of the community.

"The resources of the whole campus come together, whether it's creating new tests or figuring out how to implement care. It's beautiful, yes, it's an example of a system working when it's asked to step up to the plate," says Steve Goldstein, Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs at UCI.

The arts industry believes its own expertise in logistics and crowd control in place even before the pandemic, could be better utilized in helping others find a solution to reopening safely.

"We can demonstrate it to other industries, how you do it, we're good at this," says Forsyte.
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