Arkansas’ governor is ordering a stop to the first socially-distant concert
After scheduling the first socially distanced concert since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, country artist Travis McCready is being ordered a cease and desist order by the Arkansas governor.
In an email obtained by The New York Times, Governor Asa Hutchinson says they appreciate the venue's efforts to enforce social distancing but the show is still outside of their guidelines.
He stated they could reopen on May 18. Still, it “requires strict social distance among performers, contestants, and members of the audience.”
The venue hosting the concert, TempleLive, was expecting to be fogging and sanitizing the building. Attendees would be keeping socially distant in line. They would also have their temperatures checked before entering the venue and required to wear masks. Seating was laid out through "fan pods" for groups of between 2-12 seats throughout the venue.
Unfortunately, the show was still not following health guidelines.
In a New York Times article, both the promoters and local government officials debated over the event's legality. TempleLive's representatives argue the decision is discriminatory because churches have different restrictions than indoor venues in Arkansas. The government though is saying it still breaks guidelines.
Now, it's being shut down over the issues with following guidelines.
In an email obtained by the New York Times, Hutchinson says the concert remains outside of their directive.
“As advertised, this concert does not comply with our Department of Health directives for indoor entertainment venues. I appreciate the venue owners’ working to enforce social distancing and the wearing of masks to protect the concertgoers, but the concert remains outside of the state’s pandemic directive.”
Further, KFSM 5NEWS is reporting that a cease and desist order is being sent to TempleLive. Today, Hutchinson says in a press conference that a "specific plan" needs to be in place to follow health guidelines.
“None of that was done in this case. It is out of time,” Hutchinson says.
“You can’t just arbitrarily determine when the restrictions are lifted. That is something that is done based upon public health requirements. In terms of the concert, there will be a cease and desist order that will be issued by the Department of Health directing that that concert not take place.”
In an interview with Talk Business & Politics, an attorney representing the venue says they feel the decision should be taking into consideration the three-day gap between the state's reopening and the show's date.
“We believe the 3-day bridge between the event and revised date should be considered as mitigating in favor of the event, given other factors. This event was scheduled innocently and optimistically based on existing information at the time it was scheduled. Given the investment in safety procedures, scheduling the artist, selling tickets to patrons who now have plans, and other economic factors, we believe that postponing would impose an unnecessary financial burden on TL and all who are invested in the event, notwithstanding other issues. Through these recent discussions, TL has remained optimistic approval would come, and TL remains committed to conducting a safe event.”
What do you think of the Arkansas concert being ordered a cease and desist order? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.