Houston-area concert venues respond to plans to lift restrictions

HOUSTON – With the state of Texas’ occupancy and mask restrictions set to be rescinded next week, some Houston-area performance venues are revisiting their policies.

“That was great news coming from the governor,” said Jerry MacDonald, the president and CEO of Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion has hosted smaller events and gatherings with social distancing and masks required.

“We’re doing smaller events right now. We haven’t done a major live concert event since October of 2019,” MacDonald said.

That means the pavilion’s primary revenue generator, big concerts and other large events, has been a bust.

“By revenue standard, we’re down about 98 percent,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said the Governor’s rollback of restrictions will help, but while the change takes effect next week don’t look for any big concerts at the big pavilion any time soon. He said that’s because it takes months to plan a concert and most states remain with restrictions.

“We actually work six months to a year out,” he said. “So, by him flipping the switch saying, yeah, go do concerts, well, if I wanted to do Dave Matthew’s that’s four or five months away

Other venues are keeping their current COVID-19 occupancy and mask policies in place, including White Oak Music Hall.

“We’re thrilled to see COVID rates declining and steps taken to open Texas back up. We’re still evaluating what that means for us and how that might affect our concerts. We’re hopeful that it will allow us to book more shows and welcome more fans, but we need to ensure that those shows can be done safely,” said managing partner Johnny So in a statement.


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Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.