Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York music venues will be allowed to reopen next month at 33 percent capacity, with a maximum of 100 attendees for indoor establishments and a 200-guest limit for outdoor venues.
New York’s 56th governor revealed the updated live-event attendance caps in a series of social media posts today. And while multiple industry bodies have emphasized that it will be difficult (if not impossible) for venues to stay financially afloat while operating at limited capacity, the development appears to represent another encouraging sign for the possibility of a full-scale live-music comeback later in 2021.
To be sure, the Empire State last year made headlines for prohibiting all ticketed events – regardless of whether attendees socially distanced – at New York music venues, restaurants, and other establishments. A Buffalo musician targeted the ticketed-event ban in a lawsuit, and a judge ruled in his favor in November, invalidating the corresponding order. Then, in January, an appellate court upheld the ruling.
New York music venues will officially be able to reopen at 33 percent capacity, with up to 100 guests for indoor venues and 200 guests for outdoor venues, once again, beginning on Friday, April 2nd, according to the governor’s posts.
Provided that all guests disclose “proof of a negative COVID test” – the messages don’t mention showing proof of vaccination, though north of 3.75 million New York State residents have received at least the first of two doses – indoor New York music venues will be eligible to accommodate a maximum of 150 persons at once, against 500 attendees for outdoor venues.
Additionally, on Monday, March 22nd, the attendance limit for outdoor “residential gatherings” will increase to 25. That said, indoor residential gatherings will remain limited to 10 attendees, and it’s unclear when the state intends to lift the latter restriction.
Although this week has brought two disappointing cancellations – Lightning in a Bottle higher-ups and CMA Fest execs opted to put their 2021 festivals on ice – a substantial number of investors and live-music professionals remain confident that concerts will soon return at scale.
Since at least mid-February, for instance, Live Nation stock has boasted a higher per-share worth than it did before the domestic onset of the COVID-19 pandemic one year ago. And Insomniac Events (about half of which belongs to Live Nation) is quietly filling out its event schedule – including with an inaugural “Abduction” music festival that’s slated to take place in Orlando, Florida, in a little over a month.