Ian Anderson has shared a post in which he suggests solutions to the issue of hosting concerts safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“My personal belief is that outdoor concerts are safe right now at the current level of national infections with minimum 1m lateral seat spacing for single seat positioning and EVERYONE wearing a mask — at least a 50p 3-layer surgical mask — not a flimsy single layer home-made cosmetic face covering,” he wrote.
He went on to explain that indoor venues – for obvious reasons – pose a greater risk since it’s easier to catch contaminated air droplets in a confined space where there are more hard surfaces.
Anderson wrote that gig-goers and non-HEPA air conditioning only increase the potential to spread the virus. “A single one-size-fits-all advisory to allow indoor theatres to open for business in the current ongoing pandemic is, in my experience-driven opinion, far from acceptable to audience and performer alike,” he wrote.
“Any resumption of performances in indoor spaces should include detailed analysis of the venue-specific risk from persistent airborne particles of down to 1 micron size and, very importantly, mandatory real face mask wearing.”
He continued: “I suggest that environmental health assessments are carried out for theatres and concert halls and they can be granted (or not granted) an interim COVID license to operate with restricted seating and and all the other obvious sanitary and entry/exit/toilet protocols in place.
That will take many weeks to carry out but I really think that we have, realistically, until next spring to to do this when, hopefully, infection rates are down to a safer level.”
He concluded that, at present, “it is simply not safe at this point to resume even indoor socially-distanced and mask-worn shows yet in any but a tiny few carefully risk-assessed buildings. This may practically rule out virtually all the live theatre industry and most concert halls for the time being”.
Anderson said he sent his proposals to two separate UK government officials and did not receive a response. “Hard to make any progress with this muddled, uninformed and lacklustre UK Government,” he added.
“I am so sad for all of us in this now extremely precarious industry of Arts and Entertainment and sad for our audiences too.”