ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After nearly a year of quarantines and closures, going out to have some fun will soon be a reality again. One of the biggest changes announced in the color-coded framework Wednesday is allowing entertainment venues to open back up.
Business owners say Wednesday’s announcement came as a complete surprise so they got to work right away to reopen. This weekend marks one year since Revel Entertainment Center’s ribbon cutting. Unfortunately, COVID-19 shut it down less than one month later.
Now the owner, Daniel Chavez says they’re ready to welcome back live entertainment for the first time since the shutdown, as the state’s new framework allows large entertainment venues to operate at 25% outdoors in the yellow phase of reopening.
“We actually are getting the patio cleaned and putting our sails back up and getting the heaters fired up. This is a blessing,” Chavez said. He says they’re setting up a stage on their patio expecting to have shows with local artists begin the first or second weekend of March.
When Bernalillo County gets to the green level, indoor entertainment will be allowed. This would give Chavez the chance to welcome people back inside. “That is what we are gearing up toward and getting excited about,” Chavez said.
Another thing added to the reopening framework is recreational facilities. Outdoor facilities like Hinkle Family Fun Center and Cliff’s Amusement Park can now open at the yellow level. However, indoor venues, like Urban Air Trampoline Park, remain closed. Local franchise owner Thomas Garcia says their Albuquerque location is the only one of 154 nationwide still shut down.
Before, businesses like Garcia’s couldn’t open under red, yellow, or green levels. Garcia says his industry is now being allowed to operate once the county gets to the green. “It is going to be hard to get there. It at least gives me a little bit of hope. Before, there was no hope at all,” Garcia said.
Meanwhile, Chavez hopes people keep doing their part, so our state can continue opening up. “We definitely want to keep this trend going in the right direction. This is super exciting for us,” Chavez said.
Chavez says they’re still working on their largest venue on-site, a 3,000 person concert space. He expects national tours to resume this fall and plans to open that space up then. At the turquoise level, entertainment venues can increase their occupancy indoors to 33% and outdoors at 75%.