SALT LAKE CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic has already cost Utah’s cultural sector more than $29 million, according to a recent report compiled by several arts organizations in Utah.
Concert venues, museums, theaters and more have had to shut down for the foreseeable future as people across the U.S. are now working from home, limiting social gatherings and practicing social distancing to stop the virus from spreading.
Velour — the venue at the heart of Provo’s music scene — is one of the latest establishments in Utah to close.
“Because of the COVID-19 virus, obvious health concerns for our staff and public, and the logistics of public gathering limitations, Velour will be closing our doors to all public events until further notice,” the venue announced Thursday in a Facebook post. “We are currently canceling all shows through April and assume that May will be affected as well.”
How do these closures affect Utah’s cultural sector (including arts, museums, humanities, and film)?
Here are some of the findings from the report, which was sent out Friday.
- The survey included 534 responses — 48.6% of the respondents were individuals and 53.2% represented cultural organizations. The majority of the responses — about 45% — came from Salt Lake County.
- 88.2% of the individual artists and organizations surveyed have canceled or postponed events. The remainder have summer seasons that have not yet been affected.
- Individual artists have an average of 2.6 months’ cash reserves on hand. Cultural institutions and organizations have an average of 4.9 months’ cash reserves on hand.
- When asked how severe they expected the financial impact of the novel coronavirus to be, 26.6% of individuals and organizations responded with “extremely severe.” About 10% of the respondents replied with “not severe.”
- 54.5% of respondents said their income has decreased as a result of the virus.
- The reported loss of non-admissions income was $17,266,277 and the loss of admissions revenue was $11,861,566, bringing the total loss to $29,128,343.
- 47.8% of cultural organizations said they are likely to lower salaries or lay off staff.
- The number of jobs that have been terminated to date, according to the report, is 642. Another 4,045 jobs are in jeopardy.
- About 21% of the respondents said they have refunded tickets.
- 23.7% of the respondents said they have reduced salaries, and 24.6% said they have reduced staff.
How are these individuals and organizations adapting?
- Utah’s cultural sector is adapting by increasing its online presence, reducing expenses including staff costs, allowing staff to work from home and offering improved sick leave policies, according to the report.
- 35.21% of respondents said they have increased their online presence since shutting down.
- Several organizations in Salt Lake County are engaging with the public via live videos and other behind-the scenes footage, the Deseret News reported.
Note: The report was compiled by Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Utah Cultural Alliance, Utah Humanities, Utah Museums Association, Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP), and the Salt Lake City Arts Council.