Local indoor venues gearing up to open their doors again

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Empty chairs and empty stages. For months, indoor venues have sat unused, after curtains closed for the last time in March.

Now, some are gearing up to open their doors again.

Each venue has a different story.

The NC Live Coalition is a statewide group of entertainment facilities, including the Greensboro Coliseum and the Tanger Center.

On Tuesday, the coalition came out with a reopening plan.

FOX8 reached out to a representative with the Tanger Center. Right now, there’s no definitive date on when they will open up and hold events.

But for some smaller venues in Greensboro, it’s all about being prepared.

“We actually still have the set for Pride of Prejudice up. That’s the show that was getting ready to open when we had to close our doors,” said Jody Cauthen, the director of development for Triad Stage.

The theater is frozen in time and hasn’t been touched since early March.

“We’re really anxious to return to normal, whatever the new normal is,” Cauthen said. “We can’t wait to come back.”

She’s hoping Gov. Roy Cooper will ease restrictions this week, making it possible for the curtains to open once again.

For them, it won’t happen right away.

With 300 seats in the theater, social distancing would be difficult.

Cauthen told FOX8 it also wouldn’t make financial sense if there’s a low-capacity limit.

“We won’t quite break even with just being able to sell 20 or 30 tickets,” she said. “70 to 75 percent is what we would need. Even with that, we’d have to really examine the protocols needed to make sure those 70 to 75 percent of our guests would be safe.”

A couple of blocks away, the Carolina Theatre is preparing to lose money with their Ghost Light Concert series starting Saturday, Oct. 3.

“If we sell all the tickets, we have just enough money to pay the artists. Then we have to pay the staff and everything, so we know we’re going to lose money,” Executive Director Brian Gray said.

With just 25 guests at each of the five shows, he said they plan on testing out social distancing in the 1,100 seat auditorium, and new COVID-19 procedures.

“We’ve completely sanitized the building; we’re putting in touchless restroom facilities. We’ve got hand sanitizer, and you’ll have to wear a mask or face covering until you get to your seating area,” Gray said.

The concert series refers to the “ghost light” that’s always kept on in the theater, even when no one is in the building.

“Fors six months, that’s the only light we’ve had on stage. We wanted to replace the ghost light with some stage lights. We’re excited about being able to do that,” Gray said.

They’re hoping to set the stage for the future of performing arts in the middle of a pandemic.

“It’s important to me, our board, and our folks here to show there’s a ray of hope in the performing arts industry,” Gray said. “For our community, for our staff, and our loyal guests.”

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