More than 30 Austin venues have created a public health code-of-conduct and safety program called Safe In Sound to make sure the city is able to reopen safely and responsibly.
Some of the standards and practices outlined in the Safe in Sound program include reorganizing venues to accommodate six-foot distancing between guests when appropriate; Continuing to require masks as necessary; conducting proper employee training for COVID safety; encouraging those exhibiting symptoms to stay home; and committing to sanitation of high-touch areas and availability of hand sanitizer.
The initiative comes in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement that mandatory mask wearing and capacity restrictions were being ended in the state. Red River Cultural District Executive Director Cody Cowan explained in a statement some of the reasoning behind the creation of this initiative.
“After hearing from countless workers about the new level of fear that this new mandate has instilled upon those who work and perform within the district, I refuse to stand by and not stand up for what I, and many others like me, believe to be right. We hope that these collective actions send a strong message to the public that although we want to reopen, we will only do so in a manner that provides a safe environment for all.
“I strongly urge other local businesses to join this program as we look to better protect the safety of our patrons, performers, and employees.”
Participating venues in the Safe In Sound program include ACL Live at The Moody Theater, Mohawk, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, The Side Bar, Antone’s, Paramount Theatre, Stateside Theatre, Empire Control Room & Garage and many more.
“The safety of our staff, performers, and patrons is of the utmost importance to our business at all times,” Stephen Sternschein, Founding NIVA Board Member and managing partner of Austin promoter Heard Presents said in a statement. “With that said, our city has made great strides in combating COVID-19 and we are closer than ever to being able to fully reopen safely; however, that day has not yet arrived. The limiting factor is vaccinations – once shots are widely available to everyone in our community, we should be able to fully reopen, but not before.
“I’m proud to stand with like-minded small business owners in pledging to continue to operate at a reduced capacity and to continue to require masks until the CDC provides clear guidance that this is no longer necessary. As a patron myself, my worst fear is unwittingly walking into an establishment that has chosen to remove the mask and social distancing requirements that are demonstrably effective in reducing the risk of infection. As consumers, we have the power to choose where we spend our time and money, and I urge everyone who feels the same way we do to join us and support the businesses that are committed to keeping us all SAFE IN SOUND.
“I also want to thank Tom DeGeorge (Crowbar, Ybor City Florida and NIVA Precinct Captain) for his inspiration and advice in developing this initiative.”