California green lights indoor concerts. But venues face a challenging path to reopening

The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts has a large courtyard, but Executive Director Thor Steingraber says plans to reopen are uncertain. “It has yet to be seen how many COVID measures will still even need to be put in place, either backstage or front-of-house. … If I sound trepidatious, it's because the fine print on the governor's announcement was, of course, assuming that all conditions continue to improve with our COVID-related data points.” Photo by Luis Luque.

California is allowing indoor entertainment events to resume this week at reduced capacity.

However, the summer is written off at Pomona’s the Glass House, an independent, all-ages venue known for booking local acts early in their careers

“Whatever happens over the summer, we're not going to open. … We're hoping to reopen in September. … We have 25 to 30 shows booked, starting in September, but we'll see. … We're not going to open until we're 100% capacity. And then I think that we're going to be wearing masks in our venue for quite a while,” says the Glass House talent buyer Jon Halperi.

“You can't turn this ship around in two months. We typically take six to 18 months to plan a season,” adds Thor Steingraber, executive director of the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts on the Cal State Northridge campus.

The Soyraya has lots of international artists, and they don’t come to the U.S. to play one concert and return home, Steingraber explains. “They set up elaborate tour schedules in multiple states and multiple countries, and all those things will require months to bring back.”