Plans to reopen popular music venue upstaged by re-closure order

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COLORADO SPRINGS – The stage was set for people to return to a newly-improved Black Sheep concert venue next weekend. New floors, a new mural, a new bar, and better lighting had all been installed during the three-month-long hiatus.

Then the Governor ordered bars and venues like the Black Sheep to close, saying the country has not found a way to make these businesses, designed for mass gatherings in close spaces, to work in a pandemic.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Rosanna Taylor. “But, we know we have to do what’s best for our state and our community so we understand. It just sucks because we all love what we do here so not being able to do it sucks for everybody.”

Taylor is the marketing director for the venue, one of a handful of full time employees.

On Saturday, July 9, they were ready to open at the 50-person capacity with hand saniziter stations around the building. The venue usually can fit more than 400 people but Taylor says it was more about reconnecting with the people they have missed, rather than maximizing profit.

“We’re celebrating our 15th anniversary in October. We feel like we’ve been a staple in our community as far as music venues go,” said Taylor.

As soon as the phone rang in the Sheep’s marketing meeting Tuesday general manager Kevin Zirfas had a feeling what the venue’s owners were going to say.

“Seeing all of the other states with spiking cases and then some of the other bars in the city and state kind of not abiding by anything, we were kind of like, ‘Is it going to be even more strict? How’s it going to work?'” Zirfas said.

In addition to the renovations––the first in the 15-year history of the Black Sheep, brought on by an owner who wanted to reinvigorate the facility––Taylor says people have bought merchandise to support them.

They’ve also had live-streamed concerts with local bands where people have donated to them.

“It means everything. It means what we worked for, in building a community, is working,” Taylor explained. “We want to take it to the next level. We want to keep doing it for the next 15 years and still be the black sheep and expand it in the city and be apart of this community. That’s what everyone here wants.”

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