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Dr. Fauci: Theaters could open in the fall to nearly full capacity, if people wear masks

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The vaccine rollout has been much slower than the Trump Administration promised, because they are willfully incompetent and left distribution up to the states with little to no support or guidance. I have hope that The Biden administration will be able to help turn that around with their plan to release all doses at once. In the meantime entire industries are struggling and some have all but shuttered, particularly restaurants, bars, movie theaters and performing arts. So many waiters, cooks, actors, musicians, writers and countless support staff have lost their jobs. In a virtual conference with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Dr. Fauci said the end may be in sight. He said that if we reach 70 to 85% of the population vaccinated by the fall, we could see live performances resume. There are a lot of other factors in play, but if this happens we could get almost full capacity audiences, provided everyone wears masks.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, told performing arts professionals at a virtual conference on Saturday that he believed that theaters and other venues could reopen “some time in the fall of 2021,” depending on the vaccination rollout, and suggested that audiences might still be required to wear masks for some time.

At the conference, held by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Dr. Fauci sought to assure people in the industry that the end of their acute economic pain was in sight, while emphasizing that the timeline hinged on the country reaching an effective level of herd immunity, which he defined as vaccinating from 70 percent to 85 percent of the population.

“If everything goes right, this is will occur some time in the fall of 2021,” Dr. Fauci said, “so that by the time we get to the early to mid-fall, you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience…”

Dr. Fauci said that if vaccine distribution succeeded, theaters with good ventilation and proper air filters might not need to place many restrictions for performances by the fall — except asking their audience members to wear masks, which he suggested could continue to be a norm for some time.

“I think you can then start getting back to almost full capacity of seating,” he said…

“We’ll be back in the theaters — performers will be performing, audiences will be enjoying it,” he said. “It will happen.”

[From The NY Times]

It will surely be much easier to get audiences in live performances to wear masks than in movie theaters. People pay a premium to attend those events, there are observers to enforce mask-wearing, and there’s usually no eating during the show. I live in a rural area and don’t often go to live shows. I used to go to the movies all the time though and miss it so much. It may be until next year that I’ll be comfortable going again, but I don’t know if the theater in my town will even be open by then. I don’t want to think too hard about it, but that’s a luxury I have as someone healthy whose job has survived. So many other people have paid with their lives, the lives of their friends and family and their livelihoods. I’ll end on a positive note: when we are on the other side of this it will be amazing. I plan on traveling, eating out and doing so many things I used to take for granted.

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