How the new COVID-19 rules impact Bay Area live performances

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Indoor theaters and concert venues throughout the Bay Area will be allowed to reopen starting Thursday, April 15, the California Department of Public Health announced a few weeks ago. 

Opera San Jose, a professional, regional opera company tells KRON4 News the updates to the state’s reopening guidance is long overdue. 

“We’ve been sort of the ignored sector for quite a long time,” says Opera San Jose general director Khori Dastoor.

“And we’re an important part of the economy and we’ve been waiting for guidance about how we can continue to support our communities,” Dastoor added. 

“We’re getting it now.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Opera San Jose created the Fred Heiman Digital Media Studio, enabling the company to stream high-quality, fully-produced operatic performances right into the living rooms of patrons. 

The company has since offered concerts, recitals, in-conversation events, master classes, artist meet and greets, and fully produced operas created specifically for digital broadcast. 

“We have stumbled on an incredible new artform of how we scale down opera into more shorter form intimate stories, short chamber pieces that have high emotional impact and we will always do that,” says Dastoor.

“But now we see the light at the end of the tunnel of how we safely bring patrons back for that live experience with the full orchestra and the curtain rising, that’s what everybody has been missing most of course.”

The studio has also allowed Opera San Jose to offer video content in Spanish and Vietnamese, allowing the company to reach a growing audience as a result. 

But despite loosened restrictions, theater companies like Opera San Jose, which need months of planning and preparation to put on a show will see the impacts from the state’s updated reopening guidance gradually. 

“We’re thrilled about the guidance, we’re probably going to be implementing our own even more rigorous standards to make our company safe and keep pur employees safety at the front of our thinking,” says Dastoor.

“But our patrons are ready to come back, they’re calling me everyday when can I buy my ticket, when can I buy my ticket, and so all of us in the Bay Area can’t wait to throw our doors open once again.”

Starting Thursday, the premiere of Opera San Jose’s “Love & Secrets: A Domestic Trilogy” will take place at 6 p.m. with an exclusive opening night party with the cast and creative team right after at 7:30 p.m. 

For tickets and more information, visit Opera San Jose’s website. 

“We’re just so thrilled to know that we are fortunate enough to have such a high vaccine rate in our community, to have artists that are willing to be transparent and responsible,” says Dastoor.

“And we believe that this year has given us the time we needed to study the virus, know how it behaves, know how we protect one another and ourselves and show how we can do this safely because we can’t leave this sector ignored forever.”

For venues that are allowed to offer live performances, they will be limited depending on what color tier their county is in regarding the state’s Blueprint For A Saer Economy.

In regards to live music, many major venues in Santa Clara County and throughout the Bay Area have already rescheduled concerts to later in the year or sometime in 2022. 

View the updated sector chart to see which activities and businesses will be affected.

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