Clubs Eye Pandemic Reopenings

As phase two kicks in (even as coronavirus cases spike), clubs are tip-toeing toward reopening, but not without as many regulations as an airplane ride – or perhaps more so.

The venerable Birchmere Music Club in Alexandria, Va., announced plans to reopen July 10 with the Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band – not one of the biggest draws in the club’s history. Still, there won’t be room for a packed hall. Tickets are $15 (well $20 with tax and facility fee), but there is also a $25 food and beverage minimum plus a $5 Covid fee. So fifty bucks per person for a band you don’t know; wait until somebody big comes.

Masks are mandatory whenever not in your seat (to which you’ll be escorted); no more finding your own seat at the general admission venue.

Each show will begin at 7:30 p.m. and end by 9 p.m., with no opening act and one set. And if you want merch, good luck there, too, since they’re limiting the number of people in that section.

There’s still a risk of catching the virus in crowds, of course, so your $50 will also come with your own risks.

At D.C.’s flashiest recent venue, the Anthem, the next live show is listed as Nathaniel Rateliff July 31. But in the meantime, they’ve started an outdoor Camp Athem involving reserved outdoor table on the city’s Wharf. Each table, seating up to six, is covered by a cabana tent, rentable for a $250 minimum per table, with a 20 percent gratuity added. Guests can only stay two hours; no table hopping! Food must be ordered with drink, per the city’s orders. And no performances.

At City Winery, the first live show listed are two shows by Dwele July 25, where tickets range from $48 to $65. But later shows don’t look too bad. A Marshal Crenshaw show with the Bottle Rockets Sept. 3 is $28-$35.

Still, as they explain in the kind of safety video they play on planes, there are far fewer tables six feet apart resulting in “much smaller capacity”; everybody gets a temperature check at the door and a wellness questionnaire. Masks are required when not at a table (and they’ve got branded ones for sale).

Buckle up!

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