Students hope for a safe revival of the entertainment industry

The Rialto remains empty and eventless during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

When thinking about life after COVID-19, some may picture masks in public and primarily virtual interactions. When entertainment is sewn into the picture, the future starts to look a little blurry.

Going months without in-person entertainment like movie theatres, concerts and other group gatherings was already hard for students to cut out of their weekly routine. Now that businesses, restaurants and venues are opening back up, the entertainment norm will have to change.

Georgia State is in the center of Downtown Atlanta, where Auburn Avenue is lit up every Friday night with bright lights and lines to enter parties stretched down the block. Going to bars and concerts every other weekend was a way to wind down from a long week for some students. 

As the shutdown requirements loosen, students like Junior Ashlee Lynch wonder what adjustments will be made post-pandemic.

“Even with fewer cases of COVID-19, businesses will still be enforcing the 6 feet apart social distance and wearing masks,” Lynch said. “I would want entertainment after COVID-19 to look almost similar to what it is now where people are starting to go back to their everyday lives. I still want to see face masks being required and social distancing.”

While some students think about the safety precautions they would like to see before diving back into their routine, other students are eager to have their social lives back. 

Junior Tellicia Riley has a more optimistic outlook on future entertainment and foresees it making a “big comeback” when outside life is officially reopened.

“Hopefully, when the entertainment industry opens back up, we can get a lot of movies, music and concerts, more social events, as the film industry has put a lot of content and on hold,” Riley said. “Entertainers have been missing out on money, so I definitely think the entertainment industry is going to try to make a big come back.”

Despite the entertainment industry taking its time opening back up, there have already been adjustments behind-the-scenes to make socializing fun yet safe for everyone to enjoy. 

Junior Deja Smalls described how she was surprised by some of the changes she has witnessed already.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of talking about how the VR experience is the new technological wave to have a concert because it’s entertaining and less contact with others,” Smalls said. “The other thing I’m noticing is drive-in movie theaters and concerts are becoming more popular since people want to go out and have fun while being safe.”

Physical entertainment will always be one of those things that are difficult to modify, even with all the guidelines and restrictions. Luckily, most of these modifications, such as the drive-in theatres and concerts, still allow people to have a good time and be social at a safe distance.

Local theatres and venues such as the Starlight Drive In and the Tabernacle still allow guests to visit their establishment while keeping their business and guests safe under their new COVID-19 guidelines.

“Although I liked the experience of outings before COVID-19, I think other people would enjoy these unique outlets of entertainment because it’s new and different,” Smalls said.