Arkansas Department of Health Issues Cease and Desist Order to Upcoming 'Socially-Distanced' Concert

The nation's first socially-distanced concert is in jeopardy

Bishop Gunn vocalist Travis McCready was set to perform the nation’s first socially-distanced concerts on May 15 at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas. For the time being, that’s been put on hold.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at a news conference that the Arkansas Department of Health will issue a cease and desist order to the venue directing them not to hold the concert.

The concert had already drawn controversy as it was set to take place three days before the state was set to reopen certain businesses on May 18.

“We’ve looked at their plan, and the plan is insufficient as well,” Governor Hutchinson said at the news conference. “That concert does not have our approval. It would happen three days before the authorized date, as well as a few other problems.”

TempleLive owner Mike Brown told 40/29 News he’s still weighing his options for the concert including waiting to get a copy of the cease and desist order before making a decision. “It’s really disappointing. I was a little bit blindsided, and to hear that at the press conference was a little disconcerting,” he said.

“We’ve pulled it back at 20 percent capacity and it’s still not good enough. I mean, I think music is essential and clearly it is not agreed upon,” Brown added.

The venue had already outlined an extensive list of guidelines concert attendees must follow. In order to promote social distancing, the venue broke tickets into “fan pods,” which are blocks of seats six feet apart from one another. Additionally, employees will be directing people via one way walk-ways.

Brown also spelled out the sanitizing efforts the venue was taking prior to the event. An independent third party would come in and use fog sprayers to sanitize the venue. Employees would also actively wipe down touch points in the venue and its restrooms.

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