New York City’s live music scene went silent when the pandemic began last March — but even with loosened restrictions, venue operators are hesitant to reopen.
The state gave permission for small and medium indoor arts venues to reopen on April 2 at one-third capacity with a maximum of 100 people, according to the Wall Street Journal. But some venue managers claim these restrictions make it impossible to turn a profit and are keeping their doors closed.
Some venue owners also say that it would be difficult to restrict close physical interactions at concerts.
“It’s pretty simple for us: It’s not financially viable,” Kae Burke, a co-founder of the House of Yes in Brooklyn, told the publication. She said the venue lost millions in revenue since it closed its doors last March.
Other venues are awaiting relief funding from a federal grant program, which includes some $16 billion in grants, according to the Journal.
But mostly, these owners claim that music venues needed packed crowds multiple nights a week to turn a profit. Some venues were challenged by rising rents and increased competition.
A recent survey of 45 of New York’s chapter of the National Independent Venue Association found that the majority of large venues plan to reopen in the fall, the Journal reported. Eleven smaller venues and four larger venues expect to open this month, according to the survey.