Small concert venue owner says music venues like his cannot meet Phase 4 reopening restrictions and may close – CBS Chicago


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CHICAGO (CBS) – As Chicago prepares for Phase 4 of its plan to reopen the coronavirus this Friday, the owners of the city’s performance and music venues say they still can’t do so with these restrictions.

They told CBS 2’s Tara Molina they didn’t know how they could reopen until there’s a vaccine for the novel coronavirus – and that’s if they can stay in business until then.

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Avondale Music Hall, 3336 N. Milwaukee Ave., is just one of the city’s independent music and venues that can’t cut it with the 50-person limit in Phase 4.

As he spoke with Molina, Chris Bauman walked through the music hall door for the first time in months and turned on a light.

“It’s like a tornado has hit our industry directly,” Bauman said.

He spent years working to open a place like Avondale Music Hall.

“We do everything from rock to salsa to hip-hop,” he said.

And the current situation, to say the least, is not easy.

“We were the first to close,” Bauman said. “We will be the last to reopen. “

Bauman doesn’t want to lose Avondale Music Hall, nor does he want Chicago to lose him, or places like this.

“Chicago is known the world over for its live music and music scene,” Bauman said. “So we really risk losing that. “

With city guidelines, places like Avondale Music Hall may open on Friday as we enter Phase 4 – with a 50-person limit, social distancing warrants, mask requirements, and more . But the Avondale Music Hall will not open.

“Right now I’m looking at winter or spring 2021,” Bauman said.

Bauman said the concert hall could not generate a profit in a hall of 400 to 500 people while meeting a limit of 50 people.

“We would lose more money by opening,” he said.

And it’s not just a question of the result.

“Artists don’t want to perform in a place like the Avondale Music Hall in front of 50 people,” Bauman said.

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Bauman also noted that the concert hall had to reimburse tickets for many events that had to be canceled when the venue had to abruptly close for the pandemic.

“The money comes out because we refund the tickets without any income, but we still have to pay property taxes, we still have to pay for insurance, for utilities,” he said.

This is concerning, especially considering the number of other sites in this same position.

“90% of all independent concert halls will be closed within six months if there is any kind of relief,” Bauman said.

Through the Independent Venue League of Chicago and the National Independent Venue Association, Bauman is part of the group trying to change that.

“We’re asking Congress for relief, we’re talking to state lawmakers and the governor’s office for relief, and the city of Chicago we’re asking for a license waiver and the like,” Bauman said. “At the moment, we still have to pay for these licenses. “

They don’t push to open. They are asking for this help so that they are still there once they can safely reopen.

So Bauman’s hope on Tuesday night?

“We just want to be able to stick around and reopen our doors,” he said.

Bauman said he didn’t know of a place like his that would open on Friday.

The city of Chicago has issued specific guidelines for the safe reopening of performance venues.

In addition to social distancing and masking requirements, they also advise that rows of seats for venues that have them be decommissioned between groups and that adequate visual signage be posted on hygiene, social distancing and health. appropriate personal protective equipment.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Wrigleyville’s iconic concert hall, the Metro, dispelled rumors it would shut down for good. It came after various Facebook and Twitter users mourned what they believed to be the loss of the concert hall.

Numerous tweets and posts after others stepped in to point out that they were referring to a post on Metro’s website that dates back to March – when they first announced a temporary shutdown for the COVID pandemic -19.

“Hey everyone! While we appreciate your love and support, we wanted to officially let you know that Metro / smartbar / GMan Tavern are not permanently closed,” the Metro posted. “We look forward to reopening when it is. deemed safe to do so. “

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The metro also urged people to visit SaveOurStages.com to make sure it stays active. The effort launched by the National Independent Venues Association also highlights that small concert halls were the first to close for the pandemic and will be the last to reopen, and will have no income in the meantime.

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