Fort Smith music venue to host concert before indoor venues can open

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While mindful of CDC rules, the date of the concert breaks Governor Asa Hutchinson's directive, which doesn't allow large indoor venues to open until May 18.

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Under Governor Asa Hutchinson’s directives, large indoor venues can not open until May 18.

Despite this, one River Valley venue plans to move forward with a concert three days before that date.

“The concert for May 15, as of right now is it still on?”
“It is.”

Mike Brown, Temple Live

TempleLive in Fort Smith is expecting over 200 people to show up to see Travis McCready of Bishop Gunn next week.

Courtesy of TempleLive

“With the CDC requirements for social distancing, that reduced our capacity to about 20 percent, which is roughly 228, 229 seats,” said Mike Brown with TempleLive.

While mindful of CDC rules, the date of the concert breaks Governor Asa Hutchinson’s directive, which doesn’t allow venues like his to open until May 18.

Brown said he doesn’t understand why venues are being treated differently than places of worship.

“What’s the difference between a church with 200 people in it that are six feet apart versus a music venue that has 200 people in it that are six feet apart?” he said.

So what happens if the show goes on?

“Who is in charge of enforcing these directives?”
“The Department of Health is responsible for enforcing directives.”

Asked during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Tuesday press conference

Dr. Nate Smith with the Arkansas Department of Health said, “We in public health tend to be rather peaceful people and we don’t carry firearms for the most part so we depend on local law enforcement and when that’s not possible we do have a good working relationship with Arkansas State Police as well.”

We followed up with the Sebastian County Health department, who directed us back to the Arkansas Department of Health’s comments.

Brown said he doesn’t feel like what he’s doing will be a risk to the public’s health.

“As a whole, I think people are being responsible and they want to get out of their houses and back to some sense of normalcy and music’s important to people,” he said.

If the concert doesn’t happen, Brown said ticket holders will be refunded.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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