Will the show go on? Augusta venues await the end of intermission from COVID-19

Monday, May 18, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Businesses may be struggling, but the venues that are forced to stay closed are struggling, too.

A certain section of Broad Street is taking the virus a bit harder -- the one with the Miller and Imperial theaters. Instead of the venue seats filling up, they're staying empty. And the idea of reopening isn't coming soon.

A break in the show usually isn't this long or this costly.

"There’s a great deal of unknown to it," Imperial Theatre executive director Charles Scavullo said. “You’re living if not moment to moment, day by day, week by week.”

But Scavullo knows the Imperial can make it.

"This building lived through a similar, if not worse thing back 102 years ago," he said.

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The 1918 influenza pandemic closed the Wells Theater for good before it was bought and named the Imperial.

This time around, it's in better financial shape, and able to survive at least the next four months on payroll loans and savings.

"Throughout the state and nationwide, we’re all facing similar situations if not the exact same thing," Scavullo said.

Just down the road from Imperial, the James Brown Arena and the Bell Auditorium are taking cost-saving steps. But they also say savings are in a good spot.

On top of that, all the local venues are sanitizing and trying to make their ticketing process mostly touchless and creating social distancing plans, but they can't do it like how we've seen restaurants do it.

“We have 845 seats. We are significantly impacted," Scavullo explained.

But for now, everyone's waiting in the wings, ready for this intermission from COVID-19 to be over. So the shows can go on.

The Imperial theater will be closed through July, and are asking the public for donations.

Venue staff all over are brainstorming creative ways to bring entertainment to the CSRA, not in their buildings.

As for another local venue, the Augusta Entertainment Complex is set to host several graduations in July.

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