Arkansas’ first socially-distant gig is canceled but the venue is fighting back
The show was set to be taking place on May 15. This is just three days prior to the state's proposed date for when venues could host shows with capacity limits.
According to the state reopening guidelines, venues can reopen on May 18 with shows having less than 50 people. Representatives for TempleLive are arguing this is discriminatory due to churches not facing the same restrictions.
"Even if you are going to have 250 people at a venue, you still have to have a specific plan that would be approved by the Department of Health. None of that was done in this case. It is out of time," Hutchinson said at a press conference Tuesday. "You can't just arbitrarily determine when the restrictions are lifted. That is something that is done based upon a public health requirement. 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, which is an official legal order and directive that will go out."
Today, head of Beaty Capital Group (who own TempleLive) Lance Beaty, is accusing Hutchinson of stepping on their "constitutional rights with its cease and desist letter."
He continues, saying "it is a show, but what is represents to the world is hope."
During today's press conference, venue representatives say Arkansas' Alcohol Beverage Control stripped them of their liquor licence.
TempleLive's Mike Brown says they're still hoping the show will be reconsidered to happen on Friday. As an extra measure, they're also submitting an application to host the show on Monday.
Further, they may be able to hold the concert under a condition. TempleLive representatives say Arkansas' Alcohol Beverage Control say changing the date would likely allow their liquor licence to be reinstated.
As previously reported, the venue was putting several safety precautions in place.
Fogging and sanitizing of the building was expected while touch points would be frequently sanitized. Lines would follow social distancing and attendees would be getting temperature checks and required to wear face masks. Seating was laid out through “fan pods” for groups of between 2-12 seats throughout the venue.
"It is demonstrably safer than what would happen at a church," says TempleLive legal counsel John Scott.
They've also reportedly scheduled another Travis McCready concert at Tall Pines Distillery in Pineville, Missouri for Saturday (May 16). The location is about two hours from the Fort Smith, Arkansas show and would be selling up to 400 tickets.
Earlier this month, Missouri Governor Mike Parson said concerts could happen again in the state so long as "social distancing requirements" are in place. According to Billboard, a representative from Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services says concerts don't need to follow the same capacity limits as retail stores but organizers have to keep attendees six feet or more apart to limit the spread of the virus.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is now approving the concert after TempleLive changed the date of the show to Monday, May 18. Hutchinson provided a statement on the decision which you can see below. As previously reported, changing the date fixed the issue.
“The fact that the concert promoter moved the date three days forward to May 18th showed that it is not that hard to abide by the same rules that apply to everyone else,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “They wanted an exception for an indoor concert no one else in Arkansas asked for or was allowed. We are grateful they determined that they should follow the directives and the law and do the right thing for not only the concertgoers, but also for the public in general."
“I’m delighted that on Monday, assuming their health plan can be approved by the Department of Health and proper security measures are taken, the concert can proceed and we can welcome them to the venue,” he adds. “We are pleased to have a resolution and that the concert promoter recognized the need to follow the directives of the Department of Health.”
What do you think of Arkansas' first socially-distant concert being canceled and now reinstated? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.