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 Post subject: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:33 pm
Posts: 434
Location: Oroville, CA
Whenever an are "opens up" it seems Covid19 flares up. I used to be very involved with an Historic Theatre restoration, which is still on-going, but when will it be able to host events, if ever?
What will change this? An antivirus, or similar "cure?" Or is this the way of the future, and if it is, how will organizations survive that relied upon large gatherings for income (Train rides, special events, concerts, etc.)?
Does anyone have a "crystal ball" or other insight? I am really becoming concerned. The other concern, and trying to avoid any political insertion here, is the seemingly rise of non-tolerance of any mention or recognition of folks or ideas that are not now considered proper--and there has been a lot of that in our past, and in railroading too. I was taught to study the past so we don't make the same mistakes, but if the past is erased, what then? I used to call the present "young folks" the "Not before me generation;" as to them, if it happened before they were aware, it wasn't important at all.
Sorry to be so long-winded, and I hope I presented my question in a way that can lead to some hopefully useful discussion.
What of the future??

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Hoping for the return to the American Rivers of the last overnight steamboat, Delta Queen!


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5818
Location: southeastern USA
the future has always been a scary and unstable place fraught with unpleasant possibilities while also the only unlimited frontier were we only mentally as unlimited to make good use of it.

I think that by late 2021 we will be far better equipped to deal with this pandemic..... but no better equipped to deal with the social issues you reference.

I think it will be a lot like 1939 but with digital technology.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 695
Every operation is different, but I think there should be some thought into “social distance” events. If you can arrange some operations in a closed parking lot where people can watch from the comfort of their cars or distanced outside. Something special that you can’t normally see.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:56 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 199
I understand your pain David. I am also a avid movie theater patron especially the older, grand movie theaters. Normally I visit the traditional movie theaters 2 times a week so this hasn't been easy as I have not been to the theaters since March.

I live in Denver and with the exception of everyone wearing a mask, things are pretty much back to normal except for concerts, movie theaters, sporting events, and other large gatherings. I was lucky enough to buy a box of N95, respirators at a garage sale last year for a dollar. I have read that those are some of the best respirators for this virus so I have little worry when I am out and about. They are irritating to wear especially in the heat and it makes life difficult for events over a hour.

I have rode on one train this year in a open air car, with around 3 other people. All were wearing a mask and I felt the risk was minimal. It's unlikely I will return to the movie theaters anytime soon as I feel watching a 2 hour movie with a mask on would be uncomfortable. Most of our excursion railroads are running and doing well but at a reduced capacity.

I am staying away from large crowds until at least Fall. From what I have seen many of the museums, tourist railways, etc, are either closed or only running on weekends. So it is difficult to plan these around a vacation even if you want to go. Hopefully by Fall this virus will be under control and we can get back to normal.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:54 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:11 pm
Posts: 30
Tom F wrote:
It's unlikely I will return to the movie theaters anytime soon as I feel watching a 2 hour movie with a mask on would be uncomfortable.


This is what will shape people's free time going forward. My family used to go out shopping on a Saturday to get groceries, and then over to two or three more stores before getting lunch out, but not anymore. There's a quick 60-minute grocery run now and that's it. If we need some type of household item, then we make sure to get groceries at Target that week to avoid a second stop. Baby stuff gets delivered monthly now. (We're home all day now and can pull the package in right away.) We go for walks in the neighborhood, keep up on yard work, and spend more time at the HOA-only playgrounds.

So, instead of going to museums or riding trains or just browsing Best Buy, I'm getting a lot done at home. There's a workbench in the garage, new mailbox by the curb, raised planters out back, and (finally) benchwork for that basement-filling model railroad that I've always wanted. On tap yet this summer is repainting all the bedrooms, replacing ceiling fans and lights, resetting the bricks on the front steps, staining the deck, and who knows what else.

We've saved enough money by not eating out since March, not driving to the office daily, and not traveling anywhere this summer that these projects won't cost anything extra. I would imagine, for those people who are still working through all this, such a story is pretty common. I still love trains, but I don't have the desire to participate in the hobby the same way that I used to. Maybe that will change back when the mask requirements go away someday, but maybe with kids and a large model railroad it won't.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:37 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1848
Location: Strasburg, PA
I've started to believe that all we can do is count the days until vaccine inoculations have been widely taken (months after the vaccine becomes available), next spring or summer sounds like a best case scenario, if we are lucky. Prior to that, hope that our organizations can survive until then.

Given how things have been going, tank cars full of vaccine will come available, but there will be a shortage of needles, or alcohol, or cotton balls...

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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:24 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1928
Wearing two hats here.

At National Capital Trolley Museum where I am a trustee, we have redesigned our visitor experience with time tickets with visitors being escorted as a group from start to finish, including an orientation video, ride, and display barn tour. I think the new plan will greatly improve the visitor experience. Unfortunately the County has kept things closed - but we are ready.

At Clear Space Theatre where I am executive director, we have reopened the theatre for summer with fewer seats for social distancing, eliminated our concession sales, require masks for the audience, and monitored the crowd movement at intermission. Attendance has been steady, but much lower by half - 2/3, and the patrons have responded well to the new structure.

In surveys I did for both groups there was consistent evidence of about half of the respondents who I called "early adopters" who were ready to go out IF they were provided a safe experience. Overall, I think the days of big events like Thomas, etc. are far off until a vaccine takes hold as Kelly noted.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:28 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:04 pm
Posts: 130
Location: San Jose, CA
Dave wrote:
the future has always been a scary and unstable place fraught with unpleasant possibilities while also the only unlimited frontier were we only mentally as unlimited to make good use of it.


Future concerns is understandable; however, Dave pretty much nails the opportunity.

The situation provides an opportunity to rethink facilities, customer participation and business plans. What perhaps worked or that was relied upon in the past will no longer be the case. As a society, we have to be prepared that previous business and organization models will likely not survive. Future concerns is understandable.

As others have posted, widespread vaccines and treatments will someday be available, but societal practices will be different.

This is an opportunity that pushes creativity.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:31 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:04 pm
Posts: 130
Location: San Jose, CA
An example of creativity and collaboration during these times…

For decades, the San Jose community has a tradition called “Christmas in the Park’ featuring curated displays, vending booths, and carnival rides. Located in the center of downtown, the month-long event attracts hundreds of thousands every year. A non profit spends the entire year preparing for the event with paid staff reconditioning and creating new displays.

That event will not occur this year.

My employer operates a 14 acre History Park south of downtown with 30 historic buildings most were locally landmarked and relocated to the site. The pandemic impact has cancelled all school programming and facility rentals/events resulting in absolutely no revenue for our organization.

Both organizations have come together and will jointly promote a drive-thru rendition of Christmas in the Park at History Park. Tickets to be sold on-line. Drive up vending booths may be offered in the que. A percentage of the ticket sales going to my organization. A win-win for both.

If this is successful, the drive thru event may be a new annual tradition for the community


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 Post subject: Re: What is the future for crowd-gathering activities?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5818
Location: southeastern USA
Down here an old Mill Town, McAdenville, has operated an annual Christmas light show for decades now (Duke Power created the town, built the P&N through it, and developed the mills). People sit in their cars form hours creeping slowly through the town. Maybe something like this could work for you?

BTW, you get it - start reinventing now, because if you think the "new normal" will be the same as the old one, you will be unpleasantly surprised. I'd have several prospective ideas in the works so once things do become known down the line, you will have a choice of different things to combine to suit the new normal.

_________________
Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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