UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – Toby Keith and Clay Walker stopped in Utica for a concert at the Adirondack Bank Center. This concert marks the first full-capacity event happening in the arena since the start of the pandemic.
While the center has taken the necessary precautions, bringing full capacity events back to Utica has not been an easy feat.
Robert Esche, president of the Utica Comets, said, “We didn’t really know if we were going to be able to go forward until June, mid-June, which is about 45 days out from the concert, so we were prepared for the marketing end of it, but there’s still a lot of concern in people’s heads.”
The success of tonight’s event along with guidance from local health officials will help dictate which full-capacity events will happen going forward. The center will continue to closely follow the guidelines put forth by local heath departments and continue their efforts to curb the pandemic as they work to host more full capacity events in the near future.
“We’re taking all of our guidance from the state and our local health departments,” said Esche. “What they put out, we follow pretty rigidly. There’s no skirting around that,” he added.
Esche encourages guests to come back when they feel comfortable to do so. Despite there being no restrictions, the Adirondack Bank Center is still equipped to help stop the spread of the virus.
Esche explained, “I think the big thing for us is we’ve changed a lot over the 16 months, 18 months, whatever it’s been. Whether it’s from a sanitation stand point, the air filters in the building, the cleanliness, the washing of each other’s hands constantly, the hand sanitizer, there’s little nuances that are in and around the aud.”
After a long winter hosting a hockey season to the best of their ability staff members at the Adirondack Bank Center are excited for the possibility of a more normal upcoming season. Esche said, “At the end of the day sports is a great outlet to not pay attention to a lot of other things and enjoy yourself, and that’s really all we do here, and I’m hoping that today will be our first step to that.”
Esche expects that some people at tonight’s concert will still be cautious, but what it all comes down to is having a great time.