Halloween Weekend Helps Event Industry’s Pandemic Recovery – NBC 7 San Diego


After a year and a half of restrictions due to the pandemic, Halloween is back, especially for those visiting The Merrow in Hillcrest on Saturday night.

“The energy is back and it’s exciting,” said owner Paul Smith.

The Merrow’s performance of “Hillcrest’s Variety Pack Halloween Edition” brought out costumes, smiles and cheers as the San Diego live events industry continues to recover from pandemic losses.

The live events industry was one of the first to shut down when the pandemic began and one of the last to welcome crowds when California reopened – the pandemic forcing thousands of event cancellations locally, small concerts at the 2020 San Diego International Comic-Con.

Smith’s Bar and Concert Hall, along with thousands more across the state, fully reopened on June 15 after 15 months of repeated closings.

He told NBC 7 that things were mostly back to normal and his sales are in fact higher now than before the pandemic.

“The initial projections show that we’re probably doing about 20-30% better, which is great,” he said. “If I could just continue what we’re doing right now… I’d be happy.”

But he said some signs of the pandemic persist.

“There are still, I think, a lot of people who say they don’t really want to be inside. They always want to stay outside – they feel safer, ”he said.

That’s why he said a parking lot turned into an outdoor bar and dining room just steps from his business’s front door had saved him, especially due to staff shortages and chain issues. supply that his company and so many others are feeling.

“It provided us with additional income and space,” he said. “I feel lucky that we have managed to find a niche in this recovery that we are benefiting from. “

Smith and the performers at The Merrow said the corporate scene was helping them all get back on their feet and the struggle made their comeback even sweeter.

“COVID gave us a glimpse of what we were missing,” said Marvin, the show’s promoter. “Because when it was all on hold, it was like, that’s what my life is and that’s what I was missing. It’s like that hole you had to fill up.

Smith said his venue is full with performances for the month of November and he hopes he can eventually make the outdoor space a permanent part of his business.

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