MILWAUKEE- Entertainment executives think it’ll be a long while until we return to life as we knew it, even with a more full rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Pabst Theater Group President Gary Witt and Restauranteur Shaikh both joined WTMJ’s John Mercure as part of a roundtable discussion on the virus and the vaccine rollout.
Witt tells WTMJ he doesn’t anticipate concerts regularly occurring until March or April next year.
“There doesn’t seem to be a cohesive moment in all 50 states of everybody doing the same thing but in our industry we need that,” Witt said. “In order for us to get a show in Milwaukee there needs to be something happening across the country… our industry depends on traffic flow around the United States.”
Witt was instrumental in creating the National Independent Venue Association, a non-profit advocacy group pushing for federal PPP funds to be used on local entertainment venues.
Despite large music festivals, including Summerfest, pushing dates back or postponing festivals altogether, Witt says he’s optimistic about his theater’s future, “I do feel like people feel like, given the velocity of the distribution of vaccine that they see there is the potential to end this.”
When asked if he thought concert goers having to show proof of vaccination would speed the process up of getting fans, and artists back into his venues, Witt said that remains to be scene, “I think we’re in a period of time here that we’ll still be wearing masks at shows in February or March of 2022.”
“We’re a little disappointed to not have the option to be reviewed to reopen,” Witt added. “We closed our venues for the good of our city, for the good of our state, and the good of our country, it’s just been confusing for us because it’s been so odd how the rules are placed out there.”