Vanilla Ice to Play Fourth of July Concert in Texas Despite Surging COVID-19 Infections [Updated]
Update July 2, 2020 at 3:50 pm: Vanilla Ice has canceled his performance and posted a tweet detailing the decision, which you can view below. "Due to the increase in COVID-19 numbers in Austin we’re gonna move the concert to a better date," he wrote. "We were hoping for better Coronavirus numbers by July but Unfortunately the numbers have increased quite a bit so for the safety and health of everyone we’re going to stay home."
Nostalgia-invoking rapper Vanilla Ice will headline an Independence Day "Throwback Beach Party" concert this weekend in Austin, Texas, where the coronavirus has recently surged. The show's scheduled to take place despite Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order last week that shuttered all the state's bars.
How? It seems promoters for the Vanilla Ice concert at Emerald Point Bar & Grill on Friday (July 3) found a loophole to go forward. The venue operates as a restaurant instead of a bar because over 51% of its sales are from food. The governor's order did close bars, but it only cut other restaurants' capacities in half.
That means Emerald Point's Fourth of July event featuring Vanilla Ice — the man who is mainly known as the one-hit wonder behind 1989's "Ice Ice Baby" — can carry on with 2,500 patrons in attendance. The venue's outdoor space can generally accommodate up to 5,000, as The Austin Chronicle pointed out.
But none of that seems to be stopping Vanilla Ice (real name Rob Van Winkle) from hyping up a return to live music on social media. On Sunday (June 28), the artist fondly reminisced about various ephemera of the 1990s while looking forward to his upcoming performances.
"I can't wait to get back to this," the rapper wrote on Instagram alongside a video of a packed concert audience. "The 90s were the best. We didn't have coronavirus, or cell phones, or computers. we had 5.0's, Blockbuster, Beavis and Butt-Head, Wayne's World, Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan."
Meanwhile, other venues in the U.S. have recently made moves to resume business with a few different tacts to promote social distancing. But what will live shows genuinely look like in a pandemic-enveloped world?
This week, KVUE News reported that Texas had amassed over 159,000 COVID-19 cases. The virus's presence has also dramatically increased in Austin over the past month, per the Texas Tribune. According to the state's Health Services department, more than 2,400 Texans have died due to the disease.
Emerald Point Bar & Grill's website doesn't mention social distancing or any other specific safety measures to be enacted for the event.
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