Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Live music was an early casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, and independent venues across the country are especially at risk as the crisis drags on.

Why it matters: These venues are accessible cultural spaces and key economic drivers, and no one in the industry, from bands to bookers to bartenders, knows when things will return to normal.

The state of play: More than 1,200 venues have joined the National Independent Venue Association, and its outreach to Congress highlights just how difficult things will be for the industry in the months ahead.

  • 11 independent venues that spoke to the New York Times all said they could only survive between six months and a year without government aid.
  • To stay afloat now, they need to be able to pay their employees and rent, which can be huge given their central locations in many cities.
  • To operate moving forward, they want extensive contract-tracing efforts and assistance if they're forced to reopen at a fraction of normal capacity.

Even as the country begins to reopen, venues in D.C. can't open until stage 3 ("sporadic transmission") of its plan — it enters stage 1 Friday — and, even then, they can only have five people per 1,000 square feet.

  • Normal operations can't resume until a vaccine or cure.
  • Similar restrictions are in place in other major cities, like New York and L.A.

The bottom line: Even as venues try everything from merchandise sales to food delivery to live-streaming in order to stay afloat, existential uncertainty hangs over their very business model.

  • "A lot of these questions can’t be answered. We just know that, as of today, this is dire, because the odds of us opening to full capacity are slim to none for a very long time," Chicago venue owner Katie Tuten told The New Yorker.

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Jul 1, 2020 - Health

New York City delays indoor dining as coronavirus surges in other states

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that the city will not resume indoor dining at restaurants on July 6 over fears that coronavirus surges in other states could renew the outbreak in New York, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — the original hub of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. — has successfully flattened its curve and is beginning to reopen. Officials fear, however, that the surge of cases in others states across the country will erase New York and its neighboring states' progress.

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order closing indoor service at bars in south and central parts of the state "to protect the progress Michigan has made against COVID-19," she said in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the latest state to readjust or pause reopening plans as COVID-19 cases soar across the U.S. Daily coronavirus case numbers surpassed 50,000 for the first time on Wednesday.