In a survey of people who attend live theater and performing arts in Maine, the Maine Arts Commission says it has found that just over half of respondents indicate they would not be comfortable attending a show, regardless of venue size, until there is a COVID-19 vaccine or immunity to the disease.
Executive Director Julie Richard says six out of ten people said they would be willing to pay a higher ticket price to ensure that procedures are followed to keep them safe.
“I think the hopeful thing is that almost 60 percent of the respondents said they return immediately to live performing events as soon as a vaccine is available. And another 50 percent would return within six months.”
Richard says the Commission also recently reached out to performing arts organizations and venues and says that 59 of them reported a decline in employment numbers from a total of 2,400 before the pandemic to around 170 right now. The Commission also asked for a total estimate of how much money they would need to get them through the pandemic.
“The number that they gave us was almost $9.8 Million, and this was just 59 performing arts organizations.”
Richard says the survey underscores the dire straits that performing arts organizations are in right now and points to the need for additional support from the federal government to help them through the pandemic.
Updated 4:32 p.m. August 13, 2020