Monday, March 27, 2023

Wisconsin’s entertainment industry making strong comeback


MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – As Wisconsin continues to navigate through the pandemic, the arts and entertainment industry is making a comeback.

While many industry leaders say business is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, there are signs that more people are returning to theaters.

At the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, COVID-19 protocols are in place for performances. “We have required all of our employees and volunteers who interact with the public to be vaccinated and are requesting proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours for patrons coming in. Everyone is required to be masked,” said Emily Gruenewald, Chief Development and Communications for Overture.

Gruenewald says feedback has been positive and there have been no issues.

While many event venues in both Madison and Milwaukee require vaccination, movie theaters like AMC and Marcus have more relaxed COVID-19 protocols.

At Marcus Theaters, vaccination is not required to enter and mask rules vary from location to location depending on local mandates. In an effort to give movie lovers more options to feel comfortable, the theater rolled out a trial run of vaccinated-only showings in select locations.

“We’re seeing that people actually do like that option,” said Greg Marcus, President and CEO of Marcus Corp.

Marcus says theaters are seeing steady business since reopening especially during big releases like the recent Spiderman movie.

Marcus says they’ve had much success offering options for customers to feel as safe as possible.

“We’re all about giving choice to people. We have shows for vaccinated only and shows that it doesn’t matter what your status is and if it makes you feel better to put your mask on, no one is going to stop you from putting your mask on,” said Marcus.

Both the Overture and Marcus Theaters say they’re happy to see people back and enjoying what they love and will continue making safety adjustments as needed.

“We will continue keeping an eye on the new variant and cases locally…from an industry standpoint we’re looking at all factors as well,” said Gruenewald.

NBC15 reached out to Public Health Madison Dane County. Officials there say while it’s not something they closely analyze, they have no record of any outbreaks or clusters of COVID-19 cases linked to local movie theaters or event venues.

Industry leaders say that’s a sign that protocols are doing what they’re intended to do.

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