Arkansas Governor issuing cease & desist order for this week’s Travis McCready concert
Fort Smith, Arkansas venue TempleLive booked a show with Bishop Gunn frontman Travis McCready for Friday (5/15), which would've been one of the first pandemic-era shows to be held in the US, albeit with a bunch of social distancing restrictions. AR Governor Asa Hutchinson had given the okay for live events to return on the following Monday, the 18th, and in an email obtained by the New York Times, wrote, "As advertised, this concert does not comply with our Department of Health directives for indoor entertainment venues. I appreciate the venue owners’ working to enforce social distancing and the wearing of masks to protect the concertgoers, but the concert remains outside of the state’s pandemic directive." Now KFSM 5NEWS reports that Hutchinson is sending a cease and desist order to TempleLive to stop the show from happening. He made the announcement during his daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, saying a "specific plan" needs to followed to address health and safety concerns around the state's reopening.
"None of that was done in this case. It is out of time," Hutchinson said. He continued, "You can’t just arbitrarily determine when the restrictions are lifted. That is something that is done based upon public health requirements. In terms of the concert, there will be a cease and desist order that will be issued by the Department of Health directing that that concert not take place."
Speaking to Talk Business & Politics, John Scott, an attorney representing TempleLive, said, "We believe the 3-day bridge between the event and revised date should be considered as mitigating in favor of the event, given other factors. This event was scheduled innocently and optimistically based on existing information at the time it was scheduled. Given the investment in safety procedures, scheduling the artist, selling tickets to patrons who now have plans, and other economic factors, we believe that postponing would impose an unnecessary financial burden on TL and all who are invested in the event, notwithstanding other issues. Through these recent discussions, TL has remained optimistic approval would come, and TL remains committed to conducting a safe event."