How are some Austin venues, live events adapting to Stage 5 guidelines?


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amid growing COVID-19 cases and after Austin-Travis County’s Stage 5 designation last week, area venues and live entertainment series have postponed events or amended their safety protocols in response.

The Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation announced Wednesday afternoon it canceled the 2021 Austin Pride Parade, noting an indefinite postponement. The parade has been postponed now for the second year in a row.

The 2020 celebration would have marked the 30th anniversary of Austin Pride Parade. Prior to Wednesday’s postponement, this Saturday’s celebration was set to commemorate the anniversary.

The Austin Pride Parade isn’t the only public event to be postponed in the region this week. Austin City Limits Radio announced Monday its Blues on the Green performances, scheduled for Aug. 10-11, were also postponed given rising COVID-19 cases in the area.

KXAN also spoke to Visit Austin’s CEO and President Tom Noonan, who said Keller Williams canceled its event in August, which would have brought about 6,000 people to Austin. Noonan said a nursing association also canceled its August event due to COVID-19 concerns. That event was expected to bring in about 2,000 people.

Visit Austin anticipated a fall rebound as hotel occupancy slowly returns to normal. The group says this surge will likely slow that process. Now they’re looking ahead to next year.

“Our hoteliers tell us they have a lot of business on the books this yea. They told us their 2022 books and 2023 books are looking good,” Noonan said.

Waterloo Park’s grand opening celebration, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed due to rising COVID-19 case counts in the region.

“Due to rising COVID cases and Austin’s re-entry into Stage 5, Waterloo Greenway has made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone all opening day celebrations scheduled for this Saturday,” representatives said in a statement. “This includes postponement of the ribbon-cutting ceremony and land dedication, daytime programming, and nighttime concert showcase.”

While an opening day celebration has been postponed to an undetermined date, the park will still be open to visits for access this weekend, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.

However, cancellations and postponements aren’t the only changes in place in Austin’s live entertainment and events scene. The Texas Tribune announced Wednesday morning its annual Texas Tribune Festival, scheduled for Sept. 20-25, would return this year fully virtual.

Other Austin venues have noted COVID-19 safety measures in place as live performances continue.

Representatives for Bass Concert Hall told KXAN Wednesday masks will continue to be “strongly recommended” for venue guests and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Other measures in place include contactless payment stations and hand sanitizer dispensers located throughout the venue.

Officials from The Long Center told KXAN in an email masks are required throughout the venue when guests aren’t seated with their groups, and social distancing measures will be in place. Officials noted there are not currently any events scheduled inside the building.

“In light of the recent public health trends and the Stage 5 designation, we are asking everyone to help do their part and keep masks on both indoors and out unless seated with their group,” the statement read in part.

KXAN also reached out to representatives from Circuit of the Americas, The Mohawk, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q and Austin City Limits at the Moody Center. We will update this story as they get back to us.

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