A local micro venue and vegan restaurant will reopen Sept. 10 with live music and will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry.
Opolis, which first closed at the beginning of summer for renovations, has not hosted an event since the beginning of the pandemic, said Andy Nuñez, the owner. The event will feature three bands: Labrys, Carly Gwin and the Sin and Poolboy.
Opolis has been closed for the pandemic and venue renovations that aimed to improve ventilation and ease of social distancing.
“Music venues like us … we’re the first ones to shut down, and we’re kind of the last ones to reopen. We even ... have mixed feelings about reopening (and) doing shows, anyway,” Nuñez said.
In Oklahoma, Cain’s Ballroom, Tower Theatre, Mercury Lounge, Ponyboy, The Whittier Bar and Barkingham Palace now require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours to attend events, according to Oklahoma Rock Show’s Twitter.
“Basically, we’re just kind of following the lead of most of the venues across the country,” Nuñez said.
Opolis is the only venue in Norman so far to establish this rule.
“Yeah, definitely not here to put judgment on other venues. ... That's kind of up to them,” Nuñez said.
Michael Loveland, guitarist and singer for featured band Poolboy, said the required vaccination proof makes him feel comfortable.
“I’ve been waiting for this to happen. It’s been a really long time, and it’s the safest way to do it. It’s a small place and music shows are usually meant to be intimate. Ours are. So, I hope it keeps people safe,” Loveland said.
The return to normalcy within live music and intimate venues is much anticipated, Loveland said.
“We did do a show a few weeks ago and it was well attended. I felt like people are ready to see some live music,” Loveland said.
Desiree Laymance, an attendee of the event, said they are excited to safely see a live show again.
“I heard about the event from one of my friends, and we are super excited because we have been missing out on a lot of concerts since COVID,” Laymance said.
Nuñez said Opolis will operate at limited capacity, have an outdoor area and screened doors for better airflow to encourage an “indoor-outdoor situation, to try to get as much air flowing through there as possible.”
“People like to get close together when they see shows and it seems like that's going to happen. The least we could do is try to mitigate it with masks and vaccines,” Nuñez said.
Opolis is located at 113 North Crawford in Norman. The doors to the event open at 8 p.m. with the concert beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10. The event is free and open to all ages. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required at the door.