When stay at home orders went into effect in March, the way we do things changed. No more mass gatherings, large events were cancelled. This severely impacted the valley’s economy where music festivals, conventions and international events bring in big dollars. Before the pandemic, the city of Palm Springs had big plans.
“We spent the better part of the last ten years building focused on building the Palm Springs brand, bringing Palm Springs back, the downtown mall, the convention center, the new hotels … then COVID hits and all of a sudden you’ve got to stop,” says David Ready, the Palm Springs city manager.
He chairs the county’s Economic Recovery Task Force Large Event Gathering Committee.
He’s seen the images of the concert in the U.K., where metal pods were installed to keep concertgoers socially distanced.
He says the list of issues with putting on events right now is long, “My committee has been looking at this now for the last two months and it’s hard, it’s very difficult to come up with controlled parameters that keep people safe,” adding people can’t stay in one place, “how do you get them in, how do you get them out, what if they have to go to the restroom … what started out as a very safe venture all of a sudden you’ve got a couple thousand people hanging out together and you’re thinking man this isn’t good.”
Plus he says investing in safety measures and cutting the amount of people that can attend won’t generate profit to make the risk worth it.
“Is it worth it for us just to wait for the vaccine to come rather than try to invest in pods or whatever it may be to make this happen so I do think we are in a little bit of a holding pattern right now.”