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As the COVID pandemic rolls on, the process of reopening of public venues needs to adapt to an ever changing landscape. Where are we now?

At the time of this writing we’ve witnessed the bottoming of the economy, massive job loss, crazy death numbers from the COVID-19 coronavirus, and to top it off, racial protests of unprecedented proportions.

You can’t make this stuff up!

If the days of opening are actually here, is the timing right?

Someone needs to set the compass

Australia may have a plan that can be adopted, but do we need to be on an island to make it work?

Australia’s largest live event businesses has announced the formation of the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) designed to allow fans to return safely to live entertainment, music, theatre, festivals, and sport events.

LEIF’s key to reactivation of events is a “comprehensive, flexible, all-of-industry re-opening and risk management strategy that meets the needs of the public, Governments, sporting bodies, venues performers and industry, with safety at its core.”

The new Forum will develop industry-wide measures encompassing cleaning and sanitization, physical distancing plans, health monitoring, crowd management, and contact tracing.

James Sutherland, lead development of strategy for LIEF released a statement saying: “This pandemic has brought our industry to a complete standstill. The thousands of cancelled sporting events, concerts, festivals, theatre, family, and comedy shows, and all the associated revenues related to them, can never be replaced.”

Are we together, or not?

In North America, a viable roadmap would certainly be a benefit.

Currently, there are plans for Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center to host its first event since March to be held on July 14.

There’s a thorough game plan 1n place for the convention center as the event is taking place over 12 days and occupies almost one million square feet.

Some key points as presented by venue Executive Director Mark Tester to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force are:

  • Teams arrive in three waves with no spectators.
  • Courts will employ physical distancing and staggered start times, with dedicated entrances and exits throughout the building and temperature checks at certain entries.

Meanwhile, the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) has announced a new competition to begin in June and culminate in a championship event with fans in attendance in July.

Sioux Falls ARGUS LEADER Brian Haenchen noted that the venue will be “open to fans since early March and likely one of the first national events to feature spectators since the COVID-19 crisis began.”

The guidelines for the PBR include:

  • Tickets will be “for only approximately 35% of the capacity for PBR events at the arena.”
  • Seating that separates fans with a “minimum four- to six-foot buffer between ticketed seats and minimizes the potential for crossover for fans entering and exiting their seats.”
  • Medical testing and screening for “all staff as they enter the venue,” as well as “complimentary facial coverings for fans.”
  • More efficient “’top to bottom’ exit following the event to reduce aisle, hallway and exit congregation.”


The NBA’s Board of Governors is set to approve a restart to its season that would include 22 teams playing at Disney World in Orlando.

But recent events have sparked discussion as their players coalition is eager to hear the NBA’s plan on issues of importance to the black community before the NBA’s restart in Orlando.


Major League Soccer is moving forward with a season restart in Orlando as the players union recently approved the plan.

Players also agreed to a proposal to cut salaries for this season and extending the collective bargaining agreement through 2025.


As for Major League Baseball, it’s unsure when the MLBPA union and owners will come to some sort of agreement.

With the sides now talking again, the simple hashtag #WhenandWhere could go down as the game-changer. But as the season wears on, hopes for teams to play any type of 2020 season continue to evaporate.


The NHL Return to Play Plan was announced May 26. The League moved into Phase 2 of the plan with the opening of training facilities for small group workouts June 8.

Phase 3, the opening of training camps, is expected to begin July 10. The Super 16 covers the centers of the 24 teams that will play in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

It would seem we have an uneven start, bit it is a start

With so many aspects to reopening large venues, it almost seems natural that there’s a lot of confusion on how to do it right.

Perhaps Australia can show us the way.