Greetings all, this is Jimmy reporting in regarding the wedding reception we played in Houston, TX on June, 27th 2020. This is the first event of any kind we have played since a fundraiser in La Grange on March 2nd 2020. So we were very excited to get back to work and that live music was being chosen and allowed again. This event was a reschedule and was originally set for May 23rd, 2020. So they only pushed it a month down the road after the Governor's announcement allowing wedding receptions in Texas which was delivered on May 22nd. I am writing today to commend the venue and attendees on their diligence in maintaining a safe event and to hopefully encourage others to consider events like this for the near future. Obviously, there is always a chance for another shut-down based on case counts but it feels like the government is reluctant to reverse the trend for opening the Texas economy. So as you plan your holiday party, wedding reception or fundraiser you can be assured that venues have figured out how to manage their spaces and provide safe haven for those that are healthy and choose to engage in these type of festivities.
Upon our arrival at the loading dock, the entire band was given temperature tests, asked several Covid related questions and then signed a document acknowledging all the vendor protocols that had been put into place. We donned our masks and kept them on until we performed our soundcheck. As everyone in the band sings or speaks on the microphones, we were not required to wear masks during the performance. We were social distanced from each other on the stage and naturally distanced from the attendees by the obvious barriers of a 3-foot stage.
Guests arrived through the front door of the hotel where they also underwent a temperature check. Upon release to enter, only four people at a time were allowed into the elevators and while waiting to elevate, social distance floor graphics and masked hotel staff aided in keeping everyone apart. Guests were encouraged to wear masks whenever they were not eating or drinking something. Tables were 10’ round and seated 8 guests per table. Tables were spaced at least 6-feet apart throughout the ballroom. Every employee of the hotel from room managers to servers wore their mask all evening long. Drinks were all served with a plastic lid covering the glass. Multiple bars were set up in the foyer to encourage short lines away from the main ballroom area. There were no instances to report, but it was clear that room managers for the hotel maintained a watchful eye for any indication that someone displayed any sign of illness.
Being a Newsboyz show, you can be assured that the dance floor was busy throughout the performance. Some guests wore masks to the dance floor but a larger percentage did not. This was not “policed” by the hotel outside the staff keeping a lookout for anyone showing symptoms. Guests that were not comfortable on the dance floor simply maintained their seats in the ballroom. To avoid a large gathering outside, the Bride and Groom were seen off in the foyer with bubbles. Guests then departed 4 at a time down the elevators.
We were excited to be included in the event and happy to comply with the protocols set forth by the hotel. If I had to change one thing, it would be to forego the bride and groom send-off. Blowing bubbles at the excited couple seems counter-intuitive to a healthy start in life. Ha! But otherwise let the record show that healthy attendees successfully gathered for an indoor family event with live music and that a good time was had by all!
Jimmy Russell - 6/29/2020