There is no doubt that COVID-19 is still a pressing issue. We see this with the many rules and regulations placed around campus to help keep us protected. Life is nowhere near back to normal, even if we pretend it is. However, we are making huge steps forward to get back on track with the time lost.
One example is the multitude of concerts that are starting to occur. We love to see it, but have we stopped to think about if it is the safest thing for us to do right now? Think about it, thousands of people gathered in a confined space. That seems like a COVID-19 nightmare to me!
Yes, we all understand that logically, concerts shouldn’t be starting back, but sometimes it’s a matter of doing it anyway. People are sick and tired of the lifestyle that we have been forced to live for the past two years. We want to be normal again. And one way to do that is to restart big gatherings.
It’s the same with football games. The student section is jam-packed and goes against all the protocols that NC State and North Carolina as a whole are attempting to enforce. But we are college students seeking a good time. So we go and we do just that — have a good time. The same goes for concerts, we just want to have fun again.
In my case, I have a concert coming up in October that I would give the world to go to. With rescheduling after rescheduling, I’m coming up on my second year of waiting for this show and honestly, I would get COVID-19 a million times over just to go. The same reasoning applies to other people, the risk is worth the reward. It might be sad, but it’s our world.
Fortunately, though, artists are taking extra steps to ensure that these events are as safe as possible. Many artists are requiring either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend, and other artists, as well as venues, are making masks mandatory.
PNC Arena, for example, has required face masks, encourages social distancing, has cashless payments and fully digital tickets, and has upped its cleaning policies. It all sounds great, but when you pile thousands of people into an arena, there is legitimately no way to ensure that everyone always keeps their mask on over their nose and mouth.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve seen so many live performances happening at outside venues. Whether it be music festivals or an artist on tour, the appeal to outside venues is that more people can go and attend in a safer manner. Even if it still isn't the safest, it is much preferred to an enclosed space where social distancing is nearly impossible.
While the rules that venues have placed on shows sound good and effective, the truth is that not everyone is going to follow them all the time. For example, I had many friends who went to the Luke Combs concert at PNC a few weeks back, where masks were required. However, I saw through social media that virtually no one wore them, at least correctly.
We have to understand that even with all of these rules being put in place to let us return to concerts, not everyone will follow them. It is a personal choice as to whether or not you feel comfortable attending. Concerts obviously aren't the safest thing right now, but they provide the experience and memories that people have been missing out on for almost two years. But is the risk worth the reward?
After weighing out the pros and cons, yes, it’s worth it! Would I go to a concert every weekend? No, but there are ways to attend these events in a safer way. One being following the regulations that venues and artists have put in place. Wear your mask at all times and get vaccinated! If possible, choose concerts at venues outside or in more spacious settings so that social distancing is possible. It might not be ideal for concerts to start, but when looking back to the times we've had, it's something that people need to experience in order to feel normal again.