While coronavirus has halted large-scale live music events like summer music festivals and stadium tours, one U.K. racetrack is converting itself into the first “dedicated socially distanced venue.”
The Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle, England will modify the city’s racetrack to accommodate 500 viewing platforms, with a maximum of attendance of 2,500 people allowed. Each viewing station, positioned to face the stage, will be approximately six feet apart.
The venue will announce its initial lineup of artists, entertainers and comedians on Tuesday, July 7th, with shows to set begin in August.
HOW IT WORKS: Safely park your car and join the socially distanced queuing system into the Arena. Follow directions to your personal viewing area. Have food and drink delivered to your area through the @VirginMoney Unity Arena app and enjoy the show! 💃🕺 pic.twitter.com/SWe9VSZmNE
— Virgin Money Unity Arena (@VMUnityArena) July 3, 2020
The venue, conceived by SSD Concerts, also promises to follow all social distancing mandates, from the parking lot to the bathrooms to the viewing area.
All staff will have training in advance about the safety procedures for maintaining hygiene including hand washing, wearing gloves when serving and delivering food. Staff and support stewards will be required to wear masks at all times,” the venue’s website states.
Ged Bell of Newcastle city council told the Guardian that the Virgin Money Unity Arena is “a brilliant innovation where people will be able to enjoy top bands in a safe, responsible and socially distanced way.”
SSD Concerts’ Steve Davis added, “We think even in these hard times the people of the northeast will come out in their thousands to see the artists they love.”
The venue also pledged to donate a limited number of free tickets to each show to National Health Service workers.