Entertainment venues in Central Alabama adjusting to reality of coronavirus pandemic

Special Reports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Entertainment venues across Central Alabama are adjusting to the stark reality of cancelled productions, furloughed employees and changing regulations due to the coronavirus crisis. CBS 42’s Michelle Logan talked with venue owners who said once they open back up, the show-going experience will be different.

In Hoover, StarDome owner Bruce Ayers has been talking with other comedy club owners across the country about the best way to move forward.

“We’ve been talking every Friday and everybody’s coming up with different ideas,” Ayers said. “We may have to shorter shows a little bit, and have instead of one shows or two shows, maybe three shows a night in order to get those numbers up.”

Ayers said he is strategically planning the best way to keep his patrons safe, while being able to keep his business afloat. He said at the end of the day, he just wants to see people having a good time at the StarDome.

“If I can get you laughing,” he said. “You’re gonna feel better, you’re gonna forget about your troubles for a while, and that’s how it works.”

The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater is also adapting — with cancelled shows through May. Tickets are available for a ZZ Top concert June 27, with refund options if the show gets postponed later on.

Oak Mountain Amphitheatre will be implementing new safety measures, including added hand sanitizer dispensers and wellness screenings for employees before every shift.

BJCC executive director Tad Snider said about 1,000 events happen at the complex each year — and all the events will be met with new precautions to keep attendees healthy.

“In terms of how we interact with you when you enter the parking lot,” Snider said. “How your ticket is taken, and how we’re able to space everyone by that time.” 

Snider said that between trade shows, concerts and other large-scale gatherings, about 1.2-1.3 million people visit the BJCC every year.

“We hope we create a great memory for every one of them,” he said. “And right now, we don’t know when we’re gonna be able to do that again.”


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