Raleigh concert venues, event spaces prepare to welcome crowds

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- A sign about a postponed and later canceled event is still posted at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh, but inside, staffers are getting ready for opening day.

Safety measures for the center begin when people walk through the doors.

“We pride ourselves, prior to, on how quickly you could get into the building. Now, it’s going to slow it down a little bit more. [It will take] about 28 seconds now [compared] to 10 seconds before,” said Michelle Bradley, Interim Assistant General Manager.

An non-contact wrist thermometer starts the customer experience at the center. The stand alone, automated device will announce whether your temperature is safe.

Arrival times will be staggered. Patrons will also see more cleaning staff than usual.

“We really try to stay in the background more where now we’re really going to be interfacing with the public,” said Bradley.

In a release, the performing arts center said, “As the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation, GBAC STAR helps organizations establish protocols and procedures, offers expert-led training and assesses a facility’s readiness for biorisk situations.”

Cleaning staffers will use heavy duty cleaner chemicals and electronic sprayers. They could be see hitting every table, seat and railing throughout the Duke Energy Center.

“We are now certified in bio-hazard cleaning so it has changed how we think of everything,” said Kerry Painter, director and general manager for the performing arts complex.

Cleaning has become detailed all the way down to the color towel used for each area of the performing arts center.

Customers can expect more prepackaged food and drinks at the concession stands. There will be much less seating throughout the lobby to discourage gathering.

Seating in the auditoriums will be spread out, too. The center will seat people in pods of three or four and keep them separated.

“If you want to sit way far back, we’re OK with that. We’ll get you the seat that makes you feel safest and makes you feel together but separate,” Painter said.

Limited capacities may make it tricky to book talent who are used to big productions. No shows are scheduled just yet at Duke Energy Center.

“One-hundred people is not a great pivot for us to be able to show a lot of things but it’s a good beginning for us,” said Painter.

Meanwhile Duke Energy Center is waiting for their guests to arrive.

“The whole staff is excited. We are looking forward to when we could open those door even for just one patron,” Bradley said.

Phase 3 restrictions

  • Movie theaters and conference center: 30-percent capacity or 100-seated guests per screen, whichever is less
  • Bars: Outdoor only at 30-percent capacity or 100 guests – whichever is less
  • Outdoor amusement parks: 30-percent occupancy
  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000: 7 percent occupancy
  • Small outdoor venues: 30-percent capacity, or 100 guests whichever is less
  • Mass gatherings: 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors

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