Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Opinion: Time to shut it all down

By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // Venues and artists need to get out in front of protecting themselves and the public

Coming out of this weekend, the music industry landscape is markedly different from that of nine days ago when SXSW did the seemingly unthinkable and canceled the 2020 event. National tours have been suspended and Oregon has shuttered venues with a capacity of greater than 250.

In light of new guidance tonight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for (not mandating) a nation-wide ban on gatherings larger than 50 people for the next eight weeks, it is now time for Portland area venues and musicians to follow these guidelines for the protection of their employees, guests, and musicians.

Not only is shuttering nightclubs and music venues the right thing to do, it is only a matter of time, very short time, before it is done for us. Just this evening, Illinois, Ohio, and Washington have all implemented statewide closings for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Mayor Bill DeBlasio in New York City has done the same.

For Oregon, the writing is on the wall: We will see a statewide shutdown of similar businesses. I'm not going to be surprised if it happens in the next 24-48 hours, but certainly by the end of the week.

For venues and musicians, I know this is a shocking time. I have heard from worried venue owners saying they will go under if they have to shutter their doors for even a brief time period. I know many, many musicians who don't know how they will cover basic living expenses if they can't work for more than a week or two.

By arguing that clubs and musicians should take a hiatus, I certainly don't want to minimize the above concerns. But look at it from a slightly different perspective: How can we as an industry ethically bring groups of people together given how virulent Covid-19 is?

A single infected person in Asia was responsible for spreading the virus to more than 1,000 people. That's how dangerous this illness is and how easily it can spread.

I know people will react strongly to my suggestion. I've even had one friend tell me not to even make it. And, in the interests of full disclosure, as an event producer I too am going to be hit financially from the current situation.

But, I'd much rather take a short-term hit to the wallet and my lifestyle than contribute to putting others at risk.

Please shut down now so you can turn your attention to keeping yourselves and those around you safe. It will be much easier to do this now, pro-actively with some sort of plan, than it will be once the decision is made for us and it has to be immediate.

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