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Josh Turner’s Iowa concert is thought to be the first socially-distanced, pandemic-era US arena show

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Tim Mosenfelder/Getty ImagesLast month, Josh Turner played what is believed to be the first paid U.S. arena show since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at The U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

According to Pollstar, the September 18 show scaled its end stage concert capacity down from 7,2000 to 1,000, providing socially-distanced grouped seating. The venue implemented a clear-bag policy to minimize contact between security staff and fans, and concessions were limited.

Mask-wearing was also mandatory for all attendees, although a photo of the crowd appears to suggest that not everyone watching the show was wearing a face covering, at least while they were seated.

Still, Pollstar data reveals that most attendees reported feeling safe in the facility, giving the event scores of 3.7 and 3.8 out of four total points. In fact, one concertgoer opined that the safety precautions even felt a little too restrictive.

“One guy wrote — in a comment I shared with the city — ‘At times, your ushers were just too proactive, ensuring that I wear a mask every time I went up to the bar, so I don’t know if I’ll be back,’” noted Mike Silva, executive director of the venue. “I’m fine with that. I’d rather our staff be proactive.”

The venue has two more performances planned for this Friday, one of which will be from Aaron Lewis, the singer-songwriter and guitarist from rock group Staind, who also has a solo career as a country artist.

By Carena Liptak
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