Entertainment venues across Sonoma County tried late Monday to reschedule and reschedule events for the next four weeks in response to the latest local restrictions on large gatherings deemed too risky by the county health authorities amid an unprecedented spike in cases related to the Omicron variant.
It was a continuation of the nightly reshuffle that hit theaters, concert halls and symphony halls with the first shutdown orders almost two years ago at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, indoor gatherings of 50+ people and outdoor gatherings of 100+ are banned for 30 days in response to dramatically rising COVID-19 case rates in the county. That means concerts, theater performances and more will be suspended for the time being. (Exceptions have been made for some schools, workplaces, and religious gatherings, as well as museums, shopping malls, and restaurants.)
It was a sharp turnaround for the art and entertainment world after months of slow recovery, as live shows gained momentum and more concerts and performances were scheduled than a year ago.
Many venues were still working off the backlog from past events.
Now they will postpone or postpone their plans until at least mid-February, leaving an already fragile but important part of the local economy in a pandemic limbo again.
At the 1,600-seat Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, the new restrictions will affect 10 upcoming major events, said Rick Nowlin, president and CEO.
“While the long-term impact of COVID on live performance has been devastating, the health of our community is of paramount importance and all of us at LBC will continue to help keep people safe,” Nowlin said in a statement.
“We will immediately start postponing and rescheduling or canceling 10 major events scheduled until February 11th if there is no other alternative,” he added.
Individuals with tickets to upcoming events estimated at 5,400 visitors should expect emails and phone calls from the Luther Burbank Center and check the center’s website for updates.
Anita Wiglesworth, vice president of programs and marketing at the Luther Burbank Center, noted that the venue is already grappling with an accumulation of postponed events due to the pandemic. The latest order is going to be another hit.
“This affects events that were previously postponed due to COVID and are now sold out,” she said.
Even before the county announced on Monday, the Santa Rosa Symphony had to switch to Monday night in the middle of a concert series over the weekend due to a positive COVID-19 test and exposure that affected the performers.
The show on Saturday evening with the symphony with the pianist Olga Kern and the debut of a new work by the composer Gabriella Smith took place in the Green Music Center as planned.
But concerts on Sunday and Monday have been significantly reduced in size; Monday to just three musicians after a brass player revealed they had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and a string player reported testing positive for COVID-19.
“Out of the greatest caution and concern for our musicians, we have exempted all orchestra members from performing this evening,” said Alan Silow, President and CEO of Symphonie, in a letter to ticket holders for the concert prior to the announcement of the new restrictions by the county was broadcast on Monday.
The symphony’s next concert, scheduled for February 12-14, will take place after the 30 days of the new restrictions have expired. There will be an all-American program and the black pianist Florence Price will play Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”.
An intimate downtown Santa Rosa venue with an eclectic cast from singers to magicians, Lost Church has been plagued by pandemic restrictions since it opened amid the health crisis.
Most of the artists who will perform this month have either canceled or postponed their shows due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, Josh Windmiller, development director of The Lost Church, said Monday afternoon.
So far, the performance of the musicians Kendra McKinley and Tay and the Janglahdahs on January 15th and a performance of the singers Emma Noren and Nat Lefkoff on January 23rd have been canceled.
Michele Kappel, operations manager for the Lost Church, said she will work to postpone the January and early February events instead of canceling them.
“Many of us ask, ‘Is it right to still gather together?'” Said Kappel. “We roll with the blows. We went through it once; we’ll do it again. We want our audience to stay safe and our artists to feel comfortable when they perform. “
Here is a first list of the canceled entertainment events as of Monday night. Find out more online at pressdemocrat.com for further cancellations and additions to this list during the week.
Vermilion Theater: The last three performances of “Cyrano” are planned for this Friday to Sunday. Executive Director Diane Dragone said the 111-seat theater is considering continuing performances but capping ticket sales to 50.
Epicenter: A representative from the sports and entertainment center did not respond to a request on Monday.
Graton Resort and Casino: The sold-out January 15th performance by comedian and actor Cedric the Entertainer has been postponed to March 19th.
The lost church: The venue is working on rescheduling the January and February events; some shows have been canceled.
Luther Burbank Center: 10 major events until February 11th postpone, postpone or, if necessary, cancel
Mystic: A representative of the Konzerthaus did not respond to a request on Monday.
Phoenix: A representative of the Konzerthaus did not respond to a request on Monday.
6th Street Playhouse: A representative of the small theater did not respond to inquiries on Monday.
Even before the county issued the new restrictions on Monday afternoon, employees announced closings at several venues, many in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. These included:
Petaluma Historical Library & Museum: Closed January 10th – 31st
Sebastiani Theater: John McCutcheon’s performance postponed from January 10th to June 6th and Bedouin and Shannon Lay postponed from January 14th
Sonoma County Philharmonic: Winter concerts postponed for February 5th and 6th, postponed to a later date