Entertainment venues can reopen at maximum 15% capacity

Beachland ballroom
Posted at 8:10 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 23:32:38-04

CLEVELAND — Entertainment venues in Ohio can reopen with a maximum capacity of 15%, according to a health order signed Tuesday.

Ohio's interim director of the Department of Health signed the order, which allows venues such as auditoriums, music halls and theaters to reopen with those limited capacities.

For outdoor venues, the capacity limits are the lesser of 1,500 patrons or 15% of fixed seating capacity. For indoor venues, the limits are the lesser of 300 patrons or 15% of fixed seating capacity. Venues must maintain social distancing of six feet.

Cindy Barber, the co-owner of the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood, said the order goes along with what the venue has already been planning. She said Beachland has been working on a plan for approximately 65 to 75 people, or about 15% of their standing room capacity of 500. However, those people will need to be seated.

With such small capacities, she said they won't be able to make up the revenues they've lost in the last few months.

"Part of the problem is that as these spikes have happened again, people have canceled their tours again. And most of the national artists have kind of decided to back off until sometime next year," Barber said. "I think that most of the major artists are not going to be on the road again until maybe next spring, and with the bigger shows, where it's really complicated and like for the arenas where you've got semi-trucks traveling, I mean, we're talking about probably next fall if we're lucky."

She added, "They're talking about this vaccine and maybe that'll get going. But it's going to have to turn around majorly for this industry, for the live event industry to pull out of this, which is why we've been pushing so hard on this 'Save Our Stages' Congressional help that everybody needs across the country."

RELATED: Live music venues ask Congress, music lovers to #SaveOurStages

In the meantime, Barber said Beachland did get a temporary expansion permit from both the city and the state and is starting to plan how it could make that work for weekends in the fall.

"But we're sort of just focusing on beverage and food and maybe a little local music that's going to start there," Barber said.

She described the process venues are going through as "really complicated."

"People have to understand that you have to create one-way paths and you have to have a COVID manager on staff. There's a lot of extra costs that are going to be involved with entertainment venues opening at a 15% capacity," Barber said. "So I think this is going to be really hard for people to pull off and just ask the public to kind of be patient with all of us as we start to get going again."

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