Outdoor shows to go on after COVID outbreak linked to Felton Music Hall
The venue has shut down indoor events until Aug. 5 after news that numerous people 一 patrons as well as members and crew of the band Grateful Shred 一 tested positive after two shows earlier this month. “To be shut down for so long and have this happen, it’s heartbreaking,” owner Thomas Cussins said.
Music venues might be back, but they’re not exempt from COVID-19 outbreaks.
Though Felton Music Hall will continue to have outdoor concerts, the venue has shut down indoor events until Aug. 5 after news that numerous people 一 patrons as well as members and crew of the band Grateful Shred 一 tested positive after two shows earlier this month.
“To be shut down for so long and have this happen, it’s heartbreaking,” owner Thomas Cussins said.
The tribute band performed two shows the weekend of July 17, one outdoors and one indoors. The 750 or so attendees at the Saturday show were in pods and outdoors. Some 291 people attended the Sunday indoor show.
The following Saturday, a patron told Cussins they had tested positive following the indoor show. He said he then notified the band and emailed all attendees. After the band itself posted on Instagram that “nearly all of the band and crew tested positive,” Cussins said a second email was sent out. Four patrons along with the band have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19. The venue made a public announcement Monday via its social media channels.
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Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin said health officials are aware of the situation and are working with the venue.
Outdoor performances at Roaring Camp will continue, including a two-night Greensky Bluegrass performance Thursday and Friday. With socially distanced pods and open air, Cussins said he believes the outdoor concert series is safe enough to continue on schedule.
“First and foremost our concern is for the health of the community,” he said.
Though all employees and patrons will be asked to wear masks indoors, Cussins said the venue will not require guests to prove their vaccination status.
“I’m not sure it’s our place to do that,” he said, but added that if there was a state or local mandate to do so, Felton Music Hall would comply.
Many music venues around Santa Cruz County have not opened for live, indoors, in-person shows yet.
The Catalyst is planning to resume concerts on its Atrium stage in the last week of August. The Kuumbwa Jazz Center’s first post-pandemic in-person concert is slated for Sept. 13.
Moe’s Alley has been programming live shows exclusively at its new outdoor space The Yard, though the club is planning to bring live music to its indoor stage for the first time in 18 months with its Aug. 5 concert.
According to state guidelines, unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks. Alternatively, the venue or business may require vaccine verification or require all patrons to wear masks — as DNA’s Comedy Lab is doing for stand-up shows Friday and Saturday at Greater Purpose Brewing Company in Santa Cruz.
“I announced it today and got a dozen hate mails,” performer DNA told Lookout via email Tuesday.
Currently, in Santa Cruz County 65% of the total population has received at least one dose, and 56% are fully vaccinated, according to county health data. Last week, County Health Officer Gail Newel held a news conference encouraging all eligible residents to get vaccinated and recommended masks be worn indoors or at crowded outdoor events.
As the Delta variant continues to spread, significantly among unvaccinated people, local and state officials have begun implementing stronger precautions. Hundreds of San Francisco bars and restaurants are now asking for vaccination proof from patrons.
In addition, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued guidance Monday requiring all state and health care workers to get vaccinated or comply with weekly testing.
As of Tuesday, fewer than a dozen cases of the Delta variant had been reported in Santa Cruz County. Areas including Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties have asked employers to require vaccination status for continued employment. No such action has been taken in Santa Cruz County.