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Officials announced that Artisphere is returning to downtown Greenville in May. (FOX Carolina)

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina)Artisphere executive director Kerry Murphy says the festival is being made possible in 2021 by extensive protocols they are adapting just for it.

“We are in forcing social distancing rules in mandatory mask wearing,“ she explained. “And by entering the festival site, patrons are agreeing to comply with those rules.“

The festival is being scaled down, with three gated entrances. They are also limiting people inside at any given time, and decreasing the overall space. Plus, they are encouraging people to make reservations for 2 1/2 hour time slots online in advance.

People will still be able to walk up, but may not be able to get in unless they have a prearranged time slot, because of the reduced capacity restrictions for Covid safety protocols.

“In between those sessions, we will shut everything down and clean all of the high touch surfaces thoroughly,“ Murphy said.

“If we were typically see anywhere from around 60,000 or 70,000 patrons, We are now looking at probably a third of that,“ she added.

Murphy says Artisphere’s partnership with the city helped them in their action plan.

“We will draw in our experience from earlier, with the very successful reopening of the Saturday farmers market,“ Mayor Knox White told the crowd assembled for a press conference unveiling the return of Artisphere Monday afternoon.

“We learned a lot about social distancing, controlling the crowds, and how that works” he Mayor said, When talking about how they would handle COVID-19 safety.

White said Monday Took a Saturday markets, and more recently ice on Main, show that outdoor events can be done safely. The city also said in a statement they are confident that DHEC and CDC guidelines will be met by the festival.

“Risks of an outdoor event are much safer than say, when meeting in a huge indoor complex somewhere,“ said Greenville painter Joseph Bradley.

Bradley, who owns a well-known Greenville studio where he showcases his work, says that he and many artists are happy the community is coming together to arrive at solutions after a tough 2020, one that affected many of their livelihoods.

“I think we know that a different festival is better than no festival at all,“ Bradley said.

“You are going to see some life breathed back into the arts, and I’m excited for that,“ he said.

Copyright 2021 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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