Since the beginning of the year, COVID-19 has been eroding away at the world’s nightlife. It has gotten to the point where countries like Italy, China and Spain are under a complete quarantine while many parts of the United States are considering similar measures. Locally, the state of Rhode Island has seen bars and restaurants shut down until the end of the month with most places utilizing the option for pickup and delivery if they serve food. The current situation also affects music venues in the cities of Pawtucket, Woonsocket and the surrounding areas. Many are riding through the experience while hoping for the future, using the options that are available and knowing that they don’t have much of a choice.
The past couple of years have seen Pawtucket become complimentary to Providence’s hub of arts, music and culture. Places like the News Cafe on 43 Broad St., Machines With Magnets on 400 Main St. and The Met located within the Hope Artiste Village on 1005 Main St. have been vital to the city’s rhythmic fabric.
“It’s a very difficult time, for everyone, not just for the News but, for the whole world”, says John Marques, who’s the owner of the News Cafe. “I think it was the right decision to close and I believe the News Cafe will be okay. Everyone has to stick together and I hope all the bands that have supported us through the years will come back. If towns that were wiped out by hurricanes and destroyed by natural disasters are able to be rebuilt, I believe this community will be able to bounce back. I’m hopeful and by the way, the News Cafe is still making Pawtucket famous!”
At Machines With Magnets, they’re still operating as a recording studio. With that being said, they’re doing it in a way that coincides with CDC guidelines.
“There’ve been some cancellations over the next couple of weeks,” Creative Director Catherine Mary Hood mentioned about the current situation. “Seth Manchester and Keith Souza are of course able to work on mixing, mastering, tracking and other projects, but solo at this time. As far as the venue, and we didn’t come to this decision lightly, we’ve either rescheduled or canceled events, both public and private, through mid-May. Based on recommendations from the CDC and the Governor, it’s the most responsible thing to do to keep ourselves and our community safe and healthy.”
In response to everything that’s going on, The Met made a statement on social media. They’re hoping they can reschedule each show rather than canceling them completely.
“We know that music is something that brings people together, it is always there for us in times of celebration and in times of uncertainty, such as now,” The Met stated on their Facebook page. “It is incredibly difficult in the music industry to be able to reschedule shows, when we do not know when we can have events again. But we are working to reschedule shows and we will update our event pages, website and Instagram, as soon as we have the new dates. So we suggest that you sign up for emails and follow our Facebook and Instagram. If you have a paid ticket through Etix, you will receive an email with more information.”
“If you have any questions please direct message us,” They added. “If you are looking for ways to support bands and artists, we suggest buying merchandise directly from the bands. Our event pages have links to the bands Facebook pages, which will most likely have links to their merch shop. Most importantly we want you all to stay home, stay healthy, stay safe. Keep looking out for each other like you do when you’re at shows, but from your couch!”
Over in Woonsocket, one of New England’s most famous jazz clubs has had to shut their doors. Chan’s has had to cancel a bunch of shows into the beginning of April but they’re taking this opportunity to prepare for when they’re back in business.
“We’re taking this opportunity to deep clean and sanitize the entire restaurant,” says owner John Chan via Chan’s website at chanseggrollsandjazz.com. “Our customers and employees’ well beings and safety have always been a priority. During my 50-plus years in the food service industry, this global epidemic is unprecedented. We’re in uncharted territory but if we follow the health officials guidelines and make smart decisions, this too shall pass. I wish you and yours good health.”
In Lincoln, the Twin River Event Center within the casino hotel of the same name has been a hotbed for nostalgia for years now. Recently hip hop group Bell Biv Devoe and soft rock act Air Supply performed there and Americana star Melissa Etheridge was going to play there on April 10 before her show got postponed. Both Twin River and their sister casino hotel in Tiverton have also closed their doors.
“Until further notice, Twin River Casino Hotel and the Tiverton Casino Hotel remain temporarily closed,” Mark Crisafulli, who is the President of both establishments, declared via social media. “We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our customers, but, the state’s continued efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus are critically important. We believe our temporary closure and this preventative approach is necessary to help ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers, and all residents of Rhode Island.
“As we announced last week, we have begun to work diligently to implement additional protective measures for our customers upon re-opening,” He added. “We also remain in constant contact with the Rhode Island Division of Lotteries and our State regulators, and we will continue to keep you apprised of any updates relative to the temporary closure of the two Twin River properties in Rhode Island. Thank you.”
This time we’re in is a time to focus on our own health as well as the health of others. A good way to do that is to stay home unless you really have to get something or work doesn’t allow you to. Also, wash your hands on a regular basis. Please stay safe and cautious.