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A Fort Smith music venue's plan to move a concert from Friday to Monday has been approved by the Arkansas Department of Health, said Meg Mirivel, a spokeswoman for the agency.

TempleLive had been at odds with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Health Department over the venue's plan to have the concert Friday night, which was three days before the state was allowing large indoor venues to reopen since closing them in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas' health secretary, issued a cease-and-desist order against TempleLive on Tuesday night. Then, on Thursday, agents from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division went to the venue and "ripped" its liquor license from the wall, Mike Brown of TempleLive said during a news conference later that day.

An order from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division's director, Doralee Chandler, said the permit was being suspended because "This business is not operating in the public interest, and poses a danger to the public health, safety and welfare."

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According to the order, the permit would be returned if the venue publicly announced that the concert wouldn't take place Friday.

Brown announced Thursday that the concert would be moved to Monday.

"At the end of the day, we fought the law and the law's won," he said during the TempleLive news conference.

Besides moving the concert date, the Health Department is requiring people at the concert to wear masks.

In its original plan submitted to the Health Department, TempleLive stated that "masks will be available for purchase if desired."

In the plan approved by the state, all TempleLive employees and all audience members over the age of 10 must wear face coverings.

The Health Department also specified that the performers maintain a minimum of 12 feet from the audience, which wasn't in TempleLive's original plan.

The approved plan will allow TempleLive to have 239 people seated in the 1,100-seat venue, which is a former Masonic Temple.

Beginning Monday, large venues in Arkansas can reopen, but if they plan to have a crowd of more than 50 they must file a plan with the Health Department.

Temperatures will be checked for people entering TempleLive for the concert Monday night. Also, groups will be seated at least 6 feet from other people. Both of those things, as well as several other precautions, were in TempleLive's original plan.

The concert by Travis McCready had gotten national media attention.

The New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine said McCready's solo performance at TempleLive would have been the first large concert in the U.S. since the pandemic began.

McCready is the frontman of Bishop Gunn, a blues-rock band from Natchez, Miss.

Whether the concert, now scheduled for Monday, will still be the first large concert in the nation wasn't clear Friday.

TempleLive has booked McCready to perform an outside concert Tuesday afternoon at Tall Pines Distillery in Pineville, Mo. Lauren Brown will perform with McCready at both events.

A Section on 05/16/2020

Print Headline: Arkansas approves venue's request to move concert


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