Well, this sucks. It’s been about a month since America’s big quarantine started, and since virtually every live-music venue in the country shut down. Right now, it’s hard to speculate when things might return to normal. The entire summer music schedule is shut down, but people are still scheduling things for fall. Health experts, however, are urging as much caution as possible. And at least one prominent health expert estimates that we won’t be able to start going to concerts again for more than a year.
This past weekend, The New York Times Magazine ran a large story on the crucial question of when this whole lockdown would end. It looks bad. With specific regard to live music, the Center For American Progress oncologist and bioethicist Zeke Emanual, brother of Rahm and Ari, says that big communal gatherings should not return for a long time:
Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back. Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner. Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically, we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.
If live music really is shut down for at least the next 16 months, then things will never return to normal. It’s impossible for the current live-music infrastructure to survive that kind of extended break. I guess we’ll see what happens.