Experts Say Live Music Could Be on Hold Until Fall 2021

Experts Say Live Music Could Be on Hold Until Fall 2021

Hey, soul-crushing news: it's likely going to be much longer than we thought before live concerts are safe again.

A panel of COVID-19 experts gathered for a New York Times Magazine round-table published this weekend to discuss the much-debated timeline for when America will re-open. Dr. Zeke Emanual, an oncologist and bioethicist at the Center for American Progress, estimated that "larger gatherings" could safely resume in "fall 2021 at the earliest."

"Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back," he told the outlet. "Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner. Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they're going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that's a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically, we're talking fall 2021 at the earliest."

The summer music schedule is completely canceled and nearly every music venue is closed. However, artists and festivals have been tentatively announcing events for fall, and into 2021. Harry Styles bumped his European Fine Line tour, set to be kicking off in a few weeks, to spring 2021. Even that wouldn't be possible if Emanual is correct.

It's hard to imagine how music venues will be able to survive — paying rent and staff — a year and a half-long closure, with no income. Even if furloughed employees come back to open doors (if they still have them) in fall 2021, the music industry will never be the same.

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