SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It’s been a tough year for all of us in different ways, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to hit pause on our lives and the things we enjoy for an indefinite amount of time. One of the industries that took the hardest hit was arts and entertainment, forced to close up venues and finding another avenue of income until cases subsided.

Now that more Utahns are vaccinated and COVID-19 numbers are steadily declining in our state, restrictions are beginning to loosen and that means businesses in our local arts and entertainment industry can beginning reopening. But how will they prepare for a return to partial and full capacity in the near future? What kind of safety measures will be implemented? Are Utahns ready to gather in large numbers again?

Kyrene Gibb, Vice President of Research for Y2 Analytics joined ABC4’s Glen Mills to talk about their recently completed study. The research looked at how the pandemic affected respondents medically and economically, how people felt about different forms of gathering, whether they’d participate in arts and entertainment regardless of restrictions, and when those who are more hesitant would be comfortable attending events again.

Matthew Castillo, Director of Salt Lake County Arts and Culture and Ernesto Balderas, Communications Director of Utah Cultural Alliance talked about how much money the arts and culture industry contributes to the state’s economy, how much a typical Utahn spends at events, how much money this industry lost during the pandemic, what types of events are the public most willing to attend right now, and the safety measures that will play a role in reopening these businesses.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Gibb, Castillo, and Balderas, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.