PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A group of venues in Oregon is asking the state for looser capacity restrictions as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available.
It's already been more than a year since people have seen their favorite artist perform live.
"First and foremost, if it’s not safe to do - we won’t do it. We as an industry shut down voluntarily last year," Beau Eastes, marketing director for Les Schwab Amphitheater, said.
Les Schwab Amphitheater and a dozen other venues signed a letter to the governor proposing looser capacity restrictions.
"None of these venues have made any money since 2019. None of these outdoor venues," Eastes said.
They're asking for 100% capacity for outdoor venues after a county has been in the "low risk" category for 30 days and the vaccine has been made available to all Oregonians.
Eligibility opens up to those 16 and up in just a month.
"We know we can put on shows safely if all those things are true," Eastes said. "We were essentially looking for a commitment from the government that, if, those numbers are down and the vaccinations are available like we think they’re gonna be, let us do what we do. And that’s put on shows."
The group of venues was able to meet with a representative for the governor Wednesday, but still - Eastes said their questions weren't answered and their proposal? Disregarded.
"We were hoping to have a conversation and work on some of these points," he said. "The tone we got from the state is they can look at things two weeks in advance but nothing, they aren’t going to be able to give us much direction beyond that."
Eastes said now it's up to the venues to help create guidance for themselves.
"Coming from that meeting, we’re going to have to blaze the trail and maybe throw them on our backs," Eastes said.
FOX 12 reached out to the Governor's office to ask if they were considering loosening restrictions for these venues. They sent a statement that reads:
"Economic recovery is one of the Governor’s top priorities, and she recognizes how valuable venue operators are to our state—and that they’ve been hard hit by the pandemic. Governor Brown has been committed to revisiting Oregon’s health and safety guidance as case rates decline. In an effort to support venue operators, we recently expanded outdoor entertainment capacity by removing hard caps and transitioning to a percent-based limit, and we’re currently exploring whether a similar expansion for indoor entertainment would also work. It is because business owners and Oregonians have largely complied with risk levels and health and safety measures that we have prevented surges in hospitalizations and have recently seen decreasing case counts. But, while case counts have steadily decreased over the past few weeks, the last week has shown that case numbers can rise again across the state and we still need to remain cautious, especially as we’re also assessing the spread of new, more contagious variants. The current risk level framework was designed to be sustainable over the long term while we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, and it will remain in place for the time being. We will continue to assess the situation and plan for what is next should case numbers decrease and vaccine availability increase."