The Grand Oshkosh discusses reopening plan for later this year

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Some businesses are slowly reopening to the public, but it’s easier said than done for some venues than others.

Empty seats and a deserted stage are all that can be seen at The Grand Oshkosh.

“We’ve been closed since the middle of March,” said director Joseph Ferlo.

Ferlo said they’ve been lucky enough to get some funding to retain core staff who now work from home, but it’s still a struggle.

“March, April, May, June we lost [what] would’ve been an incredibly busy time for us,” said Ferlo. “Probably worth $70,000 to $75,000 of income just through that.”

That doesn’t include the lack of corporate sponsorships or their canceled annual fundraiser, which altogether would’ve been about another $100,000.

Though this situation has hit The Grand hard, they want to make sure that when performers can take the stage their audience can be safe.

“We’re looking at reduced capacity, distancing seats, and that’s going to be a challenge for us,” said Ferlo. “Doing shows with 500 seats is a challenge for us, doing it with half of that -- the math is not kind.”

He says they’ll also need to make adjustments for the artists.

“What do we do with stage crews and artists [spacing], what do we do with the artists' meet-and-greet with the audience? Those things are all going to change forever,” said Ferlo.

Ferlo says their first show of the season won’t be until September, giving plenty of time to plan it all out.

In the meantime, “The Grand at Home” series on YouTube and Facebook featuring concerts and Q&A sessions keeps audiences connected.

“I think it’s vital we do our best to stay in front of the public and remind them we’re still here, to remind them this place is still there,” said Ferlo.

There is a relief fund people can use to support The Grand through this time so The Grand can continue helping the community later.

“The arts are absolutely essential in mind for the spirit and mental health of a community,” said Ferlo. “We want to be ready when the community is ready to celebrate and we want to be a part of that, getting back to whatever new normal is.”

To donate to the relief fund or to learn about upcoming shows at The Grand visit its website or Facebook page.

To view its YouTube series CLICK HERE.