The show won't go on until 2021 as Denver Arts & Venues shuts down venues and furloughs staff.
In an open letter addressed to the Denver community, Denver Arts & Venues Executive Director Ginger White said several popular venues, including Red Rocks Amphitheatre, will close unless being used for COVID-19 relief programs. The closures will remain in place until health experts determine it is safe for operations to resume, she said.
In addition, all Arts & Venues employees will be furloughed until at least January 2021.
"It is our hope that by taking these measures now, Arts & Venues will be in a position to resume business quickly as pandemic-related conditions improve and our industry regains its health," White said. "We understand the impact these decisions have on our community, especially on those with whom we work."
The curtains are closing at the end of this month until 2021:https://t.co/OkDiHjxJwt— 5280 Magazine (@5280Magazine) September 3, 2020
The agency operates the Colorado Convention Center, the Denver Coliseum, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, McNichols Civic Center Bridling, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
"The effects of Covid-19 continue to devastate many industries including arts, cultural facilities, sports and entertainment," White said. "As the operator of the City’s premier entertainment venues, Denver Arts & Venues has been deeply affected by the loss of shows, performances and conventions at our facilities."
Because Arts & Venues is a Special Revenue Fund agency, it does not receive funding from Denver's general fund, White said. The agency must raise its own revenue to pay expenses, including labor costs, capital improvements, and venue maintenance. White said without revenues from its venues, the agency is forced to make difficult choices to remain solvent, which include reducing operational costs and personnel.
COVID continues to affect Denver and its employees. "Arts & Venues is implementing a mitigation plan that includes venue closures and full-time or partial furloughs of all employees beginning September 27, 2020 through January 2, 2021." pic.twitter.com/0aLXOKT7bK— Chris Hinds, Denver City Councilperson District 10 (@DenverPerfect10) September 2, 2020
A separate letter addressed to "Friends of Arts & Venues" and posted on Twitter by Denver City Councilperson Chris Hinds indicates the agency cut expenses by 46 percent and moved capital improvement funds into its operating budget at the outset of the pandemic in an attempt to alleviate losses and preserve resources. However, those measures will not sustain the agency if the fallout from the pandemic extends into next year, White wrote in the letter.
Venue closures will begin September 27 and last through January 2, 2021.
A study published in August estimated the Denver metropolitan region's creative industries will lose nearly 30,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales and revenue between April and July 2020 due to COVID-19.