Several Knoxville live music venues announce COVID-19 safety protocols for entry

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A group of event venues in the downtown area announced Monday that in order to keep the live music playing, they will require new COVID-19 protocols for upcoming shows.

The Mill & Mine posted to its social media saying attendees will need to show either a negative COVID-19 test (administered within 72 hours of the day-of-show under administered by or under the supervision of a healthcare professional) or proof of COVID-19 vaccine for all of its upcoming shows “to ensure a safe environment for our staff, bands, crew, & patrons alike.”

A safety guidelines page linked to The Mill & Mine’s social media states that they “will continue to monitor our local health situation and make determinations for further shows on a rolling basis.”

The Mill and Mine said in a statement,

“We are thrilled to gearing back up to present concerts after such a long hiatus. Maintaining a safe, healthy environment is our number one priority – for our employees, for the touring musicians and their traveling personnel, and for our audiences. These policies mirror those throughout the country, including at many venues in Nashville and at festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. They offer the best solution in allowing our live music business to return and for all of us to do the work that we love to do.”

-The Mill & Mine

Other event venues that will require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination include Bijou Theatre, The Outpost Knox, Pilot Light, and the Tennessee Theatre.

The Tennessee Theatre’s Becky Handcock said they’re doing everything they can to keep their doors open, “We’ve decided to, along with some other Knoxville venues, to implement a requirement of either a proof of negative test or proof of vaccine, completed vaccine status.”

After such a rough year for the arts community, many are banding together to make sure the music still plays here in Knoxville. A year and a half ago, theatres across the state were forced to close their curtains not knowing when they would reopen.

Courtney Bergmeier with the Bijou Theatre said, “In the spring of 2020 we were looking at one of our busiest well-attended seasons which unfortunately got cut due to Covid.”

Handcock with the Tennessee Theatre said, “We refunded $7,000 worth of tickets we lost all of our revenue overnight.”

Like many venues, Tennessee Theatre and Bijou had to adapt by hosting virtual and limited capacity events.

“It was a really challenging time,” Handcock explained. “We made a lot of tough decisions to get through the period.”

With theatre doors back open and at full capacity, places like the Bijou have a fall calendar packed with upcoming events. They decided to implement new precautions to keep the music playing.

Bergmeier added, “We wanted to adapt a policy that was as inclusive as possible. We understand that there are many members of the community that do not want to get the vaccine. So that’s why we are offering the second option of getting a negative Covid test.”

The group said this is the best way to keep the curtains open and the stage lights on.

Bergmeier with the Bijou Theatre said, “We really need to find a way to press forward, the theatre and the arts community as a whole just really cannot afford to stay shuttered any longer.”

Many within the entertainment community say they will continue to monitor the local health situations and will make decisions for further shows on a rolling basis.

This is a developing story. Download the WATE 6 News app for updates sent to your phone

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