Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, a special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, told the New York Times that he doesn't anticipate it to be safe to return to concerts, sporting events and other mass public gatherings for another 18 months.
While musical acts have postponed tours and other events to later this year or early 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emanuel predicted “fall 2021 at the earliest” for people to return to such events.
He explained, “Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back. Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner.”
Emanuel continued, “Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they're going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that's a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we're talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”
Emanuel pointed out that there have been resurgences of the coronavirus in cities like Hong Kong and Singapore that have begun opening up and allowing more activity again. He called for “better testing and contact tracing” in such situations.
Meanwhile, in a move both apparently tone deaf and predatory, the nation's largest ticket seller, Ticketmaster, has changed its policy in the wake of numerous canceled and rescheduled events.
Whereas Ticketmaster had previously allowed refunds for events that were “postponed, rescheduled or canceled,” it is currently giving out refunds only “if your event is canceled.”
With many artists opting to postpone or reschedule tours, sometimes to yet-to-be-determined dates, this essentially means obtaining a cash refund is impossible for quite some time even as the public faces financial struggles on a vast scale. A backlash has been building against Ticketmaster as a result.