Abilene businesses cancel nonessential events following push from Hendrick Medical Center

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Businesses in the Key City are already stepping up and canceling nonessential events after Hendrick Medical Center has asked for help in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Last week Hendrick Medical Center issued a letter to the community to give warning about dwindling ICU and hospital capacity.

In the letter, healthcare professionals stressed to the public, “What you do today affects what happens to our community and our economy in the next two to four weeks.”

The Paramount and Abilene Community Theatre (ACT) have already canceled events in November.

Over at ACT, the stage was set for “Other Desert Cities.”

The couch was set with fluffed pillows, the fireplace ready for a fire and a table set for four, but on the marks, no actors.

“The last show that I actually did was with the director of this show,” said actress Hope Hargrove. “I want to say 2017, 2016.”

After years of waiting in the wings, the curtains were set to open on Hargrove Friday, until the pandemic pushed a cancellation once again.

The Abilene Community Theatre closed its doors and turned off the lights last week to help dim the risk of COVID-19.

“We want everybody to be safe, that includes our audience members,” said Hargrove.

Across town, there is another set of seats with no one to sit in them.

“It was a tough decision but an easy one all at the same time,” said Executive Director of the Paramount Theatre George Levesque.

Levesque says he and the board at the Paramount made the decision to cancel its showings in November following a push from Hendrick Medical Center.

“They made no bones about it, all events that were nonessential need to be canceled for the next two weeks so they can get a grip on the disease,” said Levesque.

Levesque says it was a decision to lead so others could follow, even if that meant losing money.

“When you close down, that stream of revenue, it’s gone and it’s a bit scary, but so is the virus,” said Levesque.

When any stage is empty, there is always one light left on, the ghost light.

That light now shines where actors should be performing a scene in a well-rehearsed play, but this scene is one Hargrove is hopeful won’t be the last.


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