The Burnet Economic Development Corporation decided at a special meeting June 29 to cancel the Burnet Summer Concert Series over COVID-19 concerns.
Issues raised at the meeting included financial feasibility, the inability to serve large crowds at Haley Nelson Park under new and ongoing pandemic restrictions, and public perception.
“Even with COVID-19 requirements that are in place, the risk is very high,” Vaughn said. “Financially, the risk is high.”
Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order June 26 that, in addition to closing bars and preventing certain outdoor activities, allows outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people only if organizers have permission from a city’s mayor. Even then, restrictions already in place would limit large groups.
“Following the guidelines that were effective before Friday, our maximum occupancy (at the park) was somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200 people,” said City Manager David Vaughn, who also serves on the EDC board. “Even at that level, if you max out your occupancy of what’s allowed, we’re losing a pretty significant amount of money.”
Using, as an example, the planned Pat Green concert, the EDC could lose between $15,000 and $25,000, according to Vaughn’s estimate.
Public perception also is a concern, given the response to a recent large event, he said.
“I got a number of phone calls when the chamber did the carnival a week or so ago, and there was certainly a perception issue over, ‘Are y’all out of touch?’ ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Why are you letting these things to happen?’” he said.
Concerts in the series were planned for July 25, August 22, and September 19 and included Green and a Tejano musical celebration.