Reopening Guidance for Live Music Venues Now Available – Cleveland/Akron venues participated in national REVS effort

For Immediate Release
Friday, October 30, 2020

CLEVELAND— Today, Arts Cleveland released guidance and best practices for local live music venues as part of the national Reopen Every Venue Safely (REVS) campaign. Live music venues have often been called the first to close and last to open during the COVID-19 pandemic because of concerns around the safety of live music. This report was written to offer direction to these venues to help them be prepared to reopen safely.

The Reopen Every Venue Safely Cleveland/Akron guide was built from meetings and discussions between Arts Cleveland and local music venue owners and directors, musicians, and public health professionals. The document includes detailed information on venue cleaning procedures, what should be done before, during and after shows to keep musicians, audience members and venue employees safe and a resource section that offers direction on where different supplies can be purchased and lists helpful apps and software. With the new guidance and best practices, local live music venues will be more prepared to safely open as stricter restrictions are lifted.

In late August, Governor Mike DeWine issued an order allowing entertainment venues to reopen at 15% capacity, but for most venues, this is not economically viable. The revenue earned when venues operate at 15% capacity in most cases cannot cover the costs these venues have to take on, especially when considering the additional staff and extra equipment needed to enforce social distancing and keep venues clean and safe. Because of this, local venues have advocated for CARES relief funding to include for-profit creative businesses in arts and culture funding packages.

On October 16th, Cuyahoga County announced $4 million in federal CARES Act money would aid the arts and culture sector, with $1.3 million of those dollars being split among individual artists and for-profit creative businesses. This has been a great start to getting funding for these independent venues, but more is needed as these venues have lost so much this year.

“The $4 million is a lifeline, but it will take a long time, and a lot of support, to recover fully.” – Sean Watterson, Owner, Happy Dog and Arts Cleveland board member.

Supporting these music venues and keeping them open is about much more than just the venues and the musicians; it’s also about the economy of these communities.

“For 28 years we drove traffic to this neighborhood. We’re a small club but we have many sold-out shows. So that brings 400 people to the street. They all eat somewhere. They all shop somewhere. A lot of people are coming from out of town. They stay overnight somewhere. It’s huge. It’s not just us.” – Kathy Blackman, Owner, Grog Shop


About Arts Cleveland
Arts Cleveland is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing arts and culture in Cuyahoga County. Through advocacy, research, connections and cross-sector investigations, Arts Cleveland has driven change in the way the community interfaces with and embraces arts and culture. Learn more at and at

About Reopen Every Venue Safely (REVS)
Reopen Every Venue Safely is Music Cities Together’s national campaign to develop and disseminate best practices and action plans for the safe and judicious reopening of music venues in the wake of COVID-19. Nationally, there are 11 partner cities currently participating in REVS: Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; King County/Seattle, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; New Orleans, LA; and Portland, OR. More details:

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