Several Evansville entertainment venues requiring masks ahead of events


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — The first in a series of events is underway in Evansville at three downtown entertainment venues. Doors at the Old National Events Plaza were open for the Styx concert on Thursday night.

It is  the first of several big events scheduled to take place in the coming days here in the downtown Evansville area.

Officials with the ONB Events Plaza and the nearby Ford Center say they will be enforcing a mask mandate and expect visitors to comply. 

“Nobody wants to wear a mask, I get it, but on the other hand we are not here individually, so we have to think of the group as a whole,” said Executive Director of Ford Center and Victory theatre Scott Schoenike. 

Ford Center officials are prepping for a big turnout at Friday night’s Hank Williams Junior concert.

Officials say a mask must be worn throughout the event, the exception is if someone is actively eating or drinking. Ford Center says masking made the most sense. 

“It’s going to be fairly busy here, so social distance will be tough, so that would have been another option to say we are going to kind of socially distance and keep people apart, but due to the number here for the concerts it’s not possible to do that,” Schoenike said. “People are going to be in close proximity to each other, and that’s the reason for the mask – people are going to be close and there’s no way around it.” 

Ford Center is also monitoring case numbers with events scheduled at the end of August including the 13th annual Guns & Hoses – which takes place August 28.

“Guns & Hoses is going to happen,” said Evansville Police Dept. Officer Taylor Merriss. “There is a mask mandate now which we all have to abide by, however when you think of the greater scheme of things. This is for charity for children that can’t walk, can’t talk, can’t feed themselves. Your money is going back to that, so wearing a mask for three hours is beneficial to children that have to live lives like that.” 

The Lady A concert follows Guns & Hoses on August 29. At the nearby Victory Theatre and Old National Events Plaza, masks are also required and some additional guidelines are in place. 

The events plaza says a “KBUG” policy or “know before you go” is in effect. In addition to masks, people can only bring in a clear bag of 13 by 13, or a small clutch purse. Touchless tickets are also available and ordering food and drinks digitally is another option.

At this time, proof of vaccination or a negative covid test will not be required to enter the entertainment venues. Officials say they will continue to monitor the situation on a week by week basis before determining how best to move forward.

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