LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas venue is promoting a concert drawing more than 200 people next week despite limits the state has placed on large gatherings because of the coronavirus.
Singer Travis McCready is scheduled to play at TempleLive in Fort Smith on May 15, three days before theaters, arenas and other indoor entertainment venues are allowed to reopen. Even with the new rules, such venues can’t allow more than 50 people in the audience.
On its website for the show, TempleLive lists its safety protocol for the event that includes reducing the facility’s capacity from 1,100 people to 229. The venue, a converted Masonic temple, will also require customers to wear face masks and have their temperature screened at the door, and 6 feet of space will be required between seating groups.
The facility will be sanitized before the concert using a fog sprayer and will limit the number of people allowed in restrooms to 10.
Mike Brown, a representative for TempleLive, said the facility began selling tickets for the concert in late April after Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he hoped to start lifting the state’s coronavirus restrictions on May 4. Arkansas did not issue a stay-at-home order but had imposed other limits on businesses and banned most large gatherings.
State officials stopped short of threatening to shut the event down, saying they’re in discussions with TempleLive’s attorney.
“It will not proceed unless it’s in compliance with either our guidance or we have assurances that it will be done in a way that is safe and minimizes the risk of spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Nathaniel Smith, the state’s health secretary, told reporters.
Brown said he’s confident the show will go forward, and noted that the state has imposed different crowd limits on venues it’s allowing to reopen. The state’s three casinos, which will reopen May 18, are being limited to one-third their capacity. There’s no capacity limit for churches and other places of worship, which the state never closed because of the virus.
Hutchinson told reporters he expected some adjustments to the restrictions on large venues in the coming days to address “some inequity” on the capacity limits between casinos and other indoor venues, including museums.
“I’m just wanting fair treatment and I think with the conversations going forward I think we’ll get there,” Brown said.