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Local businesses implement COVID-19 safety policies to help Tulsa live music scene

Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 07:36:52-04

TULSA, Okla — Changes are coming to some live music events.

The pandemic greatly impacted the live music industry.

Many local artists suffered major losses due to the shutdown. Now, some are doing everything they can to keep the industry they love from suffering another shutdown.

Joey Duffy is a lead singer for a local Tulsa band called Cliffdiver.

"It's a local, saxophone, emo, pop, rock band," he said.

His band is one of hundreds that form part of Tulsa's music industry. They perform at local venues that support local artists, like Mercury Lounge.

"It's kind of a stressful time to be a musician," Duffy said.

Duffy tells 2 News in 2020 the pandemic canceled all of their tours. He said they suffered a total loss due to the shutdown. Albums and music videos were still recorded, but no revenue was coming in.

They've been working hard trying to recover, but he said it has not been easy.

Cliffdiver is trying to book tours for the fall, but with the new wave of COVID-19 cases, he worries.

"I do know that another shutdown would be crippling for Tulsa's music industry," Duffy said.

With cases rising here in Oklahoma, some of Green Country's local business owners are implementing new COVID-19 policies in efforts to help provide a safer live music experience for customers and bands alike.

Next time you go to Mercury Lounge for live music, tickets will not be the only thing you'll be asked for at the door.

Those working the door will ask patrons to present their vaccine card or a photocopy of it. People who choose not to get vaccinated must show proof of a negative test to gain entry.

Co-owner Bobby Orcutt said they don't want to turn anybody away, which is why they will have rapid tests available on site for anyone who needs to be tested.

These policies are only in effect for the live music events held at Mercury Lounge.

"At mercury lounge, when you come to a show, when you go to check-in at the door, when you check in with the door guy, you'll be asked to present a copy of your vaccine card or a photocopy of it, or a proof of negative test from within the last 72 hours, along with your ticket to go to the show," Orcutt said.

Orcutt said their goal is to keep people safe, healthy, and to keep the live music industry from being shut down.

"Nobody wants to go on stage and feel like they're getting people sick; we don't want to promote shows asking people to come out and gather feeling like we're getting people sick. That's not a thing that we're willing or want to do," Orcutt said.

He said he knows of other markets where performers have canceled shows with venues that have failed to implement these safety COVID-19 policies.

"I think it's really important that venues are taking this step forward, and I think for bands it will be important for us to be mindful of where we choose to play. Places that do take safety seriously," Duffy said.

They've been enacting these policies for a few days already. Orcutt said so far the response from people has been a positive one.

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