Out and About

DPAC welcomes guests back, but only if they're masked up

The DPAC welcomed back guests for the first time in more than a year.

Posted Updated

Aaron Thomas
, WRAL reporter
DURHAM, N.C. — Live entertainment is back at the Durham Performing Arts Center as the venue welcomed back guests for the first time in more than a year Monday night.

The DPAC made a last-minute policy change just hours before the show – making face coverings a requirement.

Those I spoke with say they didn’t mind the guidance on requiring face coverings inside the venue, but based on the photos and videos from inside the building, the mask rules weren’t strictly enforced.

Fans descended upon DPAC for the first time in more than 16 months as live music makes a return.

"[It] feels great," said concertgoer Bradford Brady. "We like to see live music and so we're very excited. Squeeze is one of our favorite bands."

The show marks one of the first live shows Brady has attended since the start of the pandemic. He says he’s fine with DPAC requiring face coverings just hours before the start of the event.

"We were going to wear our masks anyway, since we think it's important to protect ourselves and other people," he said."

Concertgoers shared videos and photos inside the venue with WRAL. The crowd appeared to be at capacity and the DPAC says it planned to reopen at full capacity, which is more than 2,700 people.

A guest inside says about half of the guests were wearing face coverings.

Ed Porcelli says wearing a mask and being vaccinated for COVID put him at ease. ​

"I have a lot of concerns for people who haven't gotten vaccinated," Porcelli said. "I don't have any concerns for me."

Safety measures, like air filtration systems, are in place at the venue.

Porcelli says he wants to enjoy being in public without worrying about massive crowds becoming superspreader events.

"We need to focus on getting everybody on board," Porcelli said. "Getting the vaccine and getting the country back to what it was."


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