1:21 pm EDT, Monday, October 12, 2020
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Portland residents got a rare treat during the pandemic — the city held its first performance at Deering Oaks Park.
But the arrival of colder weather means events like the one on Sunday will continue to be few and far between until the spring, further cutting into the income of musicians. Many have continued to perform outside throughout the summer and count on live performances to make their living.
“The impact of COVID on live performance has been immense here in Maine and across the country and even around the world,” said Aimee Petrin, executive artistic director of Portland Ovations, told WGME-TV. “I think one of the things we say a lot is we were the first to close and will be the last to open, and it’s meant that a lot of art organizations have either had to shutter or shut down completely.”
The arts industry plays a huge role in the city and state’s economy. Petrin said it’s the third-largest industry in the state.
The near future continues to look bleak, as winter weather will largely wipe out the chance of doing outdoor shows, which has helped sustain many musicians over the summer.
The state recently expanded indoor service at restaurants, and opened bars and tasting rooms for indoor service. The rules of operation allow live music but no singing, which can spread respiratory droplets with the virus.
In other coronavirus news:
Another 33 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported Monday.
That brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 5,752, while the number of deaths was unchanged at 143, officials said. The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has remained steady at just over 29 cases per day over the past two weeks.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.