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Struggle continues for Wichita concert venues still waiting to reopen

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 10:31 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With Sedgwick County enforcing a 45 person gathering limit, local concert venues say they’ll have to continue to keep their doors shut, and after already being closed for nearly four months, they’re struggling to make ends meet.

“It is heartbreaking because we rely on the revenue from ticket sales and our bar and concessions to keep this historic venue alive,” said Orpheum Theatre President Diana Gordon.

The theater planned to reopen this week, but then Sedgwick County limited social gatherings to 45 people or less. The order went into effect Friday.

“We had all of our seats taped off and we had masks available and hand sanitizing everywhere, we were really ready to go with a safe plan,” said Gordon.

The Orpheum will remained closed until the order ends in August. There will be a four week virtual concert series every Friday that starts July 17 and features local artists. The performances were recorded on the Orpheum stage, and tickets are $10.

Gordon says the theater’s reserve funds will run out by the end of August, and it is relying on public donations.

The Wave and Cotillion are also experiencing the same situation.

“Until we are past this or there is a vaccine we will not be able to do business,” said Wave co-owner Adam Hartke.

The three venues are part of the National Independent Venue Association, formed to save venues across the country from permanently closing by asking congress for funding.

“We’re seeking federal relief at this point because there is no way we can operate,” said Hartke.

Venue owners say they’re relying on the community to stop the spread so they can get back to business.

“Anything the community can do to keep numbers under control and hospitals from being overwhelmed and the spread down will help get us back into business,” said Hartke.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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