UPDATED 3:00 P.M. SUNDAY, MARCH 15 — California governor Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference Sunday that all bars, clubs, wineries, and brewpubs in California will be closed in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Restaurants can say open, he says, but their capacity will be halved.
With most cities and counties in the state already limiting public gatherings the additional impact on the musicians, venues, and fans should be minimal.
Newsom also called for the isolation of everyone older than 65, the group at highest risk of serious complications, while recommending anyone else who is able practice “deep social isolation” until the risk has subsided.
UPDATED 4:30 P.M. FRIDAY, MARCH 13 — The cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose have banned all public events, with size restrictions ranging from 100 and 1,000 or more until further notice as a response to the growing threat of Coronavirus, affecting not just concerts across the Bay Area but sporting events and other gatherings.
The latest city to decrease the maximum gathering size was San Francisco—to 100, on Friday afternoon.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Saturday issued an order banning all events at city-owned properties through March 20. Oakland’s state of emergency, declared Wednesday evening, covers all venues and will last until at least March 31.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday recommended that all gatherings of 250 people or more be canceled.
On Thursday, Another Planet Entertainment, one of three large concert producers in the Bay Area, canceled all of its remaining events in the Bay Area and in Reno, including smaller venues like The Independent and The New Parish.
The Cornerstone Berkeley also postponed all of its shows through the end of the month.
“We know cancelling these events is a challenge for everyone and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health,” Breed wrote in a news release.
In response to the recent recommendations of local, state and global health authorities and mandates by city and state government, all Another Planet Entertainment events scheduled in March are postponed.
— another planet (@apeconcerts) March 12, 2020
This follows the outright cancellation of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, which sent ripples throughout the music industry Friday afternoon. Coachella, meanwhile, has been postponed to October.
The San Francisco order extends to all city-owned properties and includes the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Palace of Fine Arts, Moscone Center, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Davies Symphony Hall, the War Memorial Opera House, piers 27 and 35 and more, and applied to all “nonessential” gatherings of 50 or more people. BroadwaySF productions at the Golden Gate and Orpheum theaters are also on hold including “Hamilton” and Sting’s “The Last Ship”
Oakland’s ban will affect concerts by Third Eye Blind and Wilco at the Fox Theater and Keith Sweat and Blackstreet at the Paramount Theater. The Oakland Athletics opening homestand is also in doubt but no announcements have been made.
The SF Ballet company had just debuted its first staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in more than 30 years before getting the word of the cancellations. The San Francisco Symphony also had numerous performances scheduled. The closer affects one concert at Bill Graham Civic: NGHTMRE on Friday. At the Palace of Fine arts, Michael W. Smith was scheduled to perform on March 19 and a Russian theater performance was originally scheduled for March 20.
The San Francisco Public Health Department has also issued recommendations to others to postpone other large gatherings like concerts and sporting events.
“We have been preparing for this,” Breed said in a news release. “These recommendations are informed by the best public health information available and guided by experts in our own health department. They mirror the actions being taken in many other municipalities and are informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. These are important steps to protect our public health and are concrete things all of us can do to keep our community safe.”
The City of Oakland follows the guidance of the Alameda County Department of Public Health, the lead agency on such matters, said Justin Berton, spokesman for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Unlike San Francisco and Berkeley, Oakland doesn’t have its own public health department.
As of March 10, the Alameda County Public Health Department advised that gatherings of 1,000 should be canceled, but did not ban them. On Wednesday, the Fox Theater tweeted that the city of Oakland has banned gatherings of 1,000 or more people and postponed all shows at that venue through the end of March. Berton said he was unaware of Oakland—or Alameda County—issuing such a ban.
TODAY, the CITY OF OAKLAND mandated the closure of all gatherings exceeding 1000 as a response to the recommendations of CDC and health officials relative to COVID-19. This will affect all concerts scheduled at the Fox Theater in MARCH.
— Fox Theater Oakland (@foxoakland) March 11, 2020
San Francisco’s two-week “social distancing” blackout is an initial step and it was not immediately clear what will happen after that, a spokeswoman for Mayor London Breed said.
While San Francisco’s recommendation to other event producers is just that—a recommendation—Mayor Breed has the authority to cancel those events as well within the city, spokeswoman Sarah Owens said.
“Yes, that is something that could happen,” she said. “The Department of Emergency Management and the Mayor are monitoring the situation closely. ”
SF Ballet spokeswoman Kate McKinney said the organization will work to come up with a resolution for existing ticketholders on Monday.
“A situation of this magnitude is unprecedented for our organization and we are working to be as responsive as possible in real-time,” McKinney said.
Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in the Bay Area, is proceeding with its scheduled shows as planned, according to a press statement. But Live Nation events will now have additional hand sanitizing stations and signs reminding attendees to thoroughly wash their hands.
“We are aware of the precautionary measures announced by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and we are continuing to implement preventative measures as outlined by the CDC,” the statement read. ” The safety of artists, fans and staff is our top priority and is planned for accordingly.”
The Tame Impala concert at Chase Center will be rescheduled at some point. The status of Bell Biv DeVoe and Post Malone or less clear.
BottleRock Napa Valley, the Bay Area’s next music festival, is scheduled for May 22 to 24 and is continuing as planned, a spokesman said.
“Naturally, the safety and security of our patrons, employees and the surrounding community is our utmost concern and, therefore, we are in regular coordination and communication with our local and state health authorities as well as the CDC,” he said.
Another Planet Entertainment has not replied to a request for comment about its shows.
This story will be updated once more information because available.
Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.