COVID-19 precautions in place as major events return to the Mid-South

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 9:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Concerts and large events have made a comeback in Memphis.

“It feels so good and you can tell just by the interest in ticket sales and things that people are so ready to come back outdoors with live music,” said Michael Allen, executive director for Memphis Botanic Garden.

Allen says their “Live at the Garden” concert series kicks off this Saturday.

He says one show has already sold out and there are a few tickets left for the first concert.

“A big event, this is 7,000 maybe 8,000 who come to each show,” Allen said.

Broadway is also making a comeback.

The Orpheum announced it’s Broadway Series will kick off in October, but as more events return, there’s a new warning about the spread of the Delta variant.

Venues say they continue to communicate with Shelby County health officials and say safety remains a top priority.

That’s why vice president and COO of the Orpheum, Dacquiri Baptiste, says they still have some COVID-19 protocols in place.

“So for our employees, our staff, our volunteers that are working the events, for now, we’re going to continue to require them to wear masks. We’re still going to temp check them, do our health screenings. For our patrons and guests that are coming through our front doors, we’re just going to highly recommend mask wearing,” Baptiste said.

Infectious disease expert, Dr. Steve Threlked, says the spread of the variant is a concern and outdoor venues are much safer.

“Indoors, poor ventilation. Packed in closer to other people that aren’t wearing masks and other people who might be unvaccinated, that’s really your risk pool right now,” Threlked said.

Both the Orpheum and the Memphis Botanic Garden say if the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain in Shelby County, they will bring back COVID protocols and possibly rollback events.

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