COLORADO SPRINGS — Locked down snack bars and empty seats are the reality inside sports and entertainment venues in Colorado and across the country in the wake of coronavirus.
Concerts, sporting events, even graduations are all things we are used to seeing at the Broadmoor World Arena. During the coronavirus pandemic, the arena has remained empty as restrictions on large gatherings continue. Leaders at the arena say it's time to try something different: safe outdoor entertainment.
The hope is these upcoming events can rejuvenate the local economy and the mental health of our community.
"It's a small baby step. We're going to get people outside and if that works for us you'll see us doing more in the parking lot," Broadmoor World Arena General Manager Dot Lischick said.
After months of refunding tickets instead of selling them, the Broadmoor World Arena is preparing to welcome guests once again. While coronavirus restricts events inside the arena, people have now purchased tickets for drive-in movies on three straight nights in the World Arena parking lot.
"It's going to be safe because you're not going to be able to come out of your car. You will stay in your car and we will screen your ticket via your car window. Staff that may have to interact with you will have masks and gloves on," Lischick said.
The hope is opening the parking lot for movies and the grass area near the arena for a yoga event will help boost the mental health of people looking to get out of the house, while also driving customer visits at nearby businesses.
Ken Kannard owns Olde World Bagels and Deli just a few blocks from the world arena.
"It has not been an easy time," Kannard said. "We have a wholesale business and we supply to 40 other customers, a couple of those customers have decided to close and they won't be reopening."
But seeing the World Arena is prepared to host events again, Kennard says it's a promising sign of brighter days for his business and a major rebound for others in the area.
"I think it creates an attitude," Kannard said. "An attitude that there is a way to go out and do some things that is still safe."
In the meantime, crews are cleaning inside the World Arena until every seat and corner is sanitized.
"We want the public to feel comfortable. We want them to know that they're coming to a clean building," said Lischick.
As crews scrub their way through the arena, locker rooms, and the concourse, Broadmoor World Arena leadership continues to have conversations with other venues to brainstorm on ways to stay relevant until they are able to safely pack the arena with people once again.
"I have to have hope for Colorado Springs as our audience," said Lischick. "I've had a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of questioning myself, a lot of reading, a lot of commiserating with other venue managers, like what the heck are you doing? We're not alone. We've worked very hard. I can honestly say I can look in the mirror and say that we've made all the right steps."
For more information on the upcoming outdoor events scheduled at the Broadmoor World Arena and ways to get involved, click here.