The Corona/Covid-19 Blues

Michigan is still in the grips of the pandemic — in fact, we are leading the nation by some measures — but new cases and hospitalizations are declining. The rules for mask-wearing vary depending on whether you are fully vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated, it seems you no longer have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors, but local rules might say otherwise. In her latest pronouncements on May 20, Governor Whitmer said capacity restrictions will be kept at 50 percent through June and removed by July. Businesses can still set their own mask rules.

Lately there has been movement to open up more venues. Jazz at Shields / Greater Detroit Jazz Society have opened up for a number of concerts, as has the Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe. The Blue LLama in Ann Arbor has started with a few events combining music and bountiful dinner menus and prices to match. Cliff Bells in downtown Detroit is open. The Zal Gaz Grotto and Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor are presenting performances in their back parking lots, weather permitting, and the Cadieux Café in Detroit and Bert’s have a similar policy. The Michigan Jazz Festival in July will be virtual and the Detroit Jazz Festival over Labor Day is still up in the air.

So the immediate future looks much better than a month ago thanks to increased vaccinations. Fortunately, many venues have put resources in beefing up their digital presence. The Kerrytown Concert House and UMS in Ann Arbor, and the Dirty Dog and Orchestra Hall in Detroit, are some of the relatively lucky ones; we hope and pray that the less fortunate venues will survive this rolling disaster. But the end result for musicians who rely on live music is still very difficult, so when you consume their art online, please be as generous as possible with your donations.