Indoor venues in WNY prepare for more crowds as capacity limits are lifted

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Live concert and entertainment venues throughout Western New York are getting ready to welcome bigger crowds back now that restrictions are lifted.

“It feels wonderful. We’ve been waiting a long time for this. 15 and a half months,” Riviera Theatre executive director David Fillenwarth said. “We kind of forecasted that this day would come this summer and it’s wonderful news. Can’t wait to go.”

Fillenwarth says he’s excited the North Tonawanda venue can once again fill up the seats without any limitations. He says lifting the restrictions is going to help business.

“It’s everything. Capacity restrictions, we couldn’t make any money, unless we were at 100 percent,” he said. “We’ve had our box office open for a couple months now, and ticket sales are wonderful people are excited and certainly with the news today we expect to be in a great position now so it’s time for a celebration.”

Buffalo RiverWorks is used to hosting live music and various events that draw in large crowds, but during the pandemic they’ve had to scale it back. Director of recreation Matt Prime says they’re looking forward to no longer do that.

“We’ll be able to start advertising these events I think a little bit better,” he said. “There was always a little tentativeness to advertising big events so as not to draw to much attention to something but now we’ll be able to go all in.”

Prime also agrees that this change in restrictions will help boost business.

“It’s going to increase I think almost across the board, even just your daily restaurant business will go up. Like I said, people hear something like that on the news, and they’re going to go out and say ok this is it,” he said. “This is the word we’ve been waiting for well over a year now. That it’s ok to go out and feel comfortable in public.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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