San Diego Concert Halls May Reopen Indoors This Month


EL CAJON, Calif .– It’s been over a year without live music or entertainment in San Diego County theaters.

Health officials announced a big change in coronavirus restrictions that impact live events across California on Friday. Gov. Gavin Newson said indoor rallies, including receptions and live performances, could resume later this month.

Venues like The Magnolia have been closed without concerts since March 2020. Health officials say venues can reopen indoors with limitations from April 15.

“The excitement, like everyone else,” said Chris Goldsmith, president of Belly Up Entertainment. “We are delighted to make progress, to be able to be open again and this is an important first step.”

Venues will be permitted to re-welcome guests with limited capacity. The state requires advance purchase of tickets, physical distance, designated food and beverage areas, and guests in the state only.

Goldsmith said there were still many details to work out before concerts and performances could resume.

“What it’s going to be like trying to regulate vaccination cards and COVID testing, and whether or not that’s something we even want to do,” Goldsmith said.

San Diego County is in the red level of the state’s reopening system. Under the new guidelines, outdoor gatherings such as receptions or conferences can include 50 people, or up to 200 with proof of vaccination and testing. Indoor gatherings can include up to 100 people with proof of vaccination and testing.

“People crave live music,” musician Daniel Powell said. “They want to dance. They crave social interaction so I think that’s fantastic. Should there be a COVID test or vaccination test before I can enjoy live music and go dancing? I do not think so.

For rooms with a maximum capacity of 1,500 people in the red level, the capacity is limited to 10% or 100 people, and the capacity increases to 25% if all guests are tested or present proof of full vaccination. Sites with a capacity of 1501 or more in the red tier have a capacity limited to 20% with testing or proof of vaccination required for all guests.

“I think it’s getting better and better in San Diego, and if they want us to wear a mask, I think all the customers will,” said Stefanie Spagano, concert fan. “I think everyone is dying to see human beings again and to live music, and to get back to a normal life. So whatever the stipulations, we’ll be there.

Goldsmith said it would take time for Belly Up to resume operations. He said they want to reopen when they know they can stay open consistently.


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