While many may have hoped for a swift return to regular schedules following the coronavirus pandemic, recent statements from the mayors of Los Angeles and New York City suggest strong likelihood that live concerts, festivals and other large public gatherings will not take place in either megacity until 2021. The news presents a huge setback for hopeful fans, artists, music employees and the touring industry altogether, which is prospected to lose between $10–$12 billion in 2020, according to a Billboard report.
In a statement to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" on Wednesday (April 15), Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti stated, "It's difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon, so I think we should be prepared for that this year."
He continued, saying "I think we all have never wanted science to work so quickly. But until there's either a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention, or herd immunity, the science is the science. And public health officials have made very clear we have miles and miles to walk before we can be back in those environments."
The proposition is not unreasonable, in fact, based on case numbers and the lack of widespread testing or vaccines, the United States is facing the brunt of the pandemic in particularly alarming fashion. As of now, over 118,000 cases have been confirmed in New York alone, with deaths reaching upwards of 8,000. More than 10,000 cases have been confirmed in L.A., and 360 have died.
Cases in the U.S. currently make up over 645,000 of the worldwide total 2.09 million, and nearly 30,000 have died. The global death toll stands at over 135,000.
On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio corroborated Garcetti’s precautious concern, saying that any semblance of a return to public normalcy could take months.
"I've got to see in my city real, steady progress, even to start to think about relaxing some of those social distancing standards even a little bit," he said. "I want to get people back to work, of course. I want to get kids back to school. But I think it will take months to go through that whole sequence. And the last thing I want to do is gather 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 people in one place. That's like the exact opposite of social distancing."
While quarantining and social-distancing mandates have helped to lessen the curve in different cities globally, public health officials still recognize that a timeline on eradicating the virus, especially in the absence of these protocols, could extend the fight against coronavirus into the foreseeable future.
With that, Garcetti pointed out a series of guidelines for L.A. that will necessarily proceed the city’s reopening, including a stronger testing system, ongoing research and bolstered hospital capacity, among other measures. According to the LA Times, the measures were proposed within the same day of the mayor’s indication to staff in a conference call that public gatherings are likely to be held until 2021.