Roosevelt Square in downtown Gainesville won’t come alive with music this week. The Aug. 7 First Friday concert has been canceled.
Nicole Ricketts, Gainesville Main Street manager, said the decision was prompted by the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Hall County and the new state executive orders that rolled out Friday, July 31, with live music event regulations.
“We know the numbers are rising,” Ricketts said. “Just overall, communicating with different leaders in the city, we felt it best to go ahead and cancel, which we’re really bummed about.”
The Northeast Georgia Health System was treating 150 COVID-19 patients as of Aug. 4, a decrease of seven from the day before and 23 from the week before. Numbers had trended down to less than 75 patients each day during June.
Before calling off the concert, Ricketts had said different protocols were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 at the venue. The city had planned to regulate access to the dance floor in front of the featured band, Fly Betty, by roping off the space and taking the temperatures of those who entered.
The attendees were also asked to practice social distancing at the event. However, Ricketts said with the new state guidelines — which shifted the concert’s classification from “non-critical infrastructure” to a “live performance venue” — the city would have to keep a quarantine station on-site with medical staff, manage the number of people entering the venue and ensure everyone remained 6 feet apart.
“We’re just not really set up on Roosevelt Square or downtown for that kind of thing,” Ricketts said, noting a First Friday event can draw 1,000 people.