Photo: MOTR Pub FacebookWhile concert clubs remain closed, Ohio is prepared to allow some live music to return.

Under the Dine Safe Ohio order issued by the state, live music at a bar or restaurant can return under the following limitations:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

Disc jockeys are permitted as long as they practice social distancing.

It doesn’t seem like many people are rushing to take the state up on its offer yet.

Like everything these days, decisions are being made based on information that changes by the day and with some tolerance of risk.

In recent weeks, a growing body of research has indicated the highest coronavirus transmission risk occurs in indoor spaces with lots of talking/singing where someone might spend a prolonged period of time.

It’s specifically mentioned, for instance, in a case study by the Centers for Disease Control on a cluster that spread through a choir. Via The Atlantic:

In a study subsequently published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” researchers emphasized that “the act of singing, itself,” might have contributed to transmission, because choir members were belting out more of the virus. Some people—known as “superemitters”—release more particles into the air when they speak, because they are unusually loud or slobbery talkers. But even normal gabbers can release an exceptional number of droplets if they’re singing or theatrically projecting their voice.

And cited by experts polled by NPR on the risk levels of various activities:

12. Going to a nightclub: high risk

There is consensus among the experts that going to a nightclub is a very high-risk activity. Crowds, ultra-close contact, singing, sweating and inhibition-loosening alcohol are a potent cocktail of risk factors. When drinking, people become less compliant with rules, Miller says, and they may breathe heavier from the dancing — “which means more virus is being shed,” he says. If there’s an infected person in the mix, the virus can spread easily.

“This is a very high-risk situation for an outbreak, as we saw in South Korea just recently,” says Karan, referring to an outbreak tied to several nightclubs and bars. “Don’t go to bars or clubs right now.”

What alters risk? Nothing makes this a good idea right now. If you want to dance, have a dance party at home with the people in your intimate circle. If it’s a small outdoor gathering, dancing under the stars — 6 feet apart — would be much less risky too.

Plenty of local venues have been hosting fundraisers — or had livestreaming music fest fundraisers hosted in their honor — to help keep them afloat and support their staff during the shutdown. Recently, CincyMusic and Inhailer Radio hosted a fest for the Woodward Theater and MOTR Pub. And a few weekends ago, CincyMusic and Cincy Groove did the same for the Southgate House Revival.

And some venues, like MOTR, do double as restaurants and bars, which have been allowed to reopen both indoor and outdoor seating. 

But on May 14, MOTR posted this to Facebook, citing they aren’t quite ready to reopen yet. 

But on the flip side, plenty of restaurants that double as well-known music spots have already begun hosting musicians, like Arnold’s Bar & Grill downtown.

Arnold’s is looking for solo musicians to play in our courtyard. We will not be having bands for the near future but…

Posted by Arnold’s Bar and Grill on Sunday, May 24, 2020