The Maine Arts Commission conducted an audience outlook survey in July to measure audience comfort levels and assess the reopening of performing arts venues and public presentation spaces throughout the state. The results, from a total of 4,080 responses to date, represent a baseline; the Arts Commission will track changes in attitudes as responses are collected in subsequent months.

When asked what size venue audiences would feel comfortable in, 51 percent of respondents said they would “not be comfortable” attending a show, regardless of the venue size.

When asked how the respondent would determine that it’s safe to return to a live presentation, the top response was “not until there is a vaccine or immunity to the virus.” Almost 60 percent of respondents said they would be “somewhat comfortable” attending an outdoor concert, but more than 80 percent said they would not be comfortable attending a venue without seats or adequate spacing.

The survey tested attitudes toward safety measures performing arts spaces can take to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Overall, respondents were most encouraged by lower crowd attendance and proper social distancing measures. The top safety measures as indicated by the respondents were: seating at least six feet from people who are not immediate family members; crowd size limits; avoidance of long queues; and awareness of a venue’s cleaning procedures. Almost 60 percent of respondents would be willing to pay a higher ticket price to enable safety measures.

Almost 60 percent of respondents would attend live performances as soon as a vaccine is available; 50 percent would return within six months.

For more information, visit the Maine Arts Resources Page — Navigating COVID-19 at