Oct. 3, 2020 / Updated Oct. 15, 2020
Preface: From March through June 2020 daily piano performances at the Bellevue Collection were prohibited due to strict CoVid-19 pandemic lockdowns. In July 2020 the piano music was reinstated. In August 2020 it was prohibited again and remains so. On August 4 the appeal below was sent to Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee. It was written by our lead pianist with contributions from the piano staff. As of Oct. 3 the Governor's office has ignored our appeal. On Oct. 6 a new set of "relaxed restrictions" was issued by the state but music performance was not mentioned. On Oct. 7, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board suddenly shut down the live background piano music at the El Gaucho restaurants, which had reinstated piano music in June. As of Oct. 15, we haven't heard back from the Governor's office. Both performing situations are/were more than appropriately socially distanced from shoppers and diners. What is going on?
August 4, 2020
Governor Jay Inslee / Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Dear Governor Inslee:
First of all, Thank You for all that you have done and continue to do in order to keep us all as safe as possible during the this Covid pandemic. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you given the very difficult decisions that you have to make in an environment fraught with so many opposing views as to what you should or should not do. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.
I am writing about a specific situation that I hope you will take under consideration and approve.
For fifteen years, 7 days a week, every week, Bellevue Square has provided background piano music in the afternoons or early evenings. The music transforms the atmosphere of the Square. It is quiet incidental music with neither amplification nor staging. There is no singing. It is simply music played on a beautiful grand piano on the second floor of the center atrium removed from the more heavily trafficked main floor. On one afternoon each weekend the pianist is augmented by an acoustic stand up bass and a drummer who only uses brushes in keeping with the soft background format.
All the musicians wear masks. There are no assemblages of crowds. There is no alcohol or food service nearby. The people who do walk by do so much further away from us than the recommended social distancing guidelines. Some applaud a little or give us a high sign or say Thank You for making this a better day, and that’s it. I am one of ten pianists that take turns playing at Bellevue Square. I have included a bio on each, not that I expect you to read them all, but rather to put before you the faces of real people who make this wonderful thing happen, all of whom are endorsing this request of you.
We ask you to consider allowing us to keep spreading some joy in a very difficult period in most people’s lives. We have and will continue to take every precaution to provide the maximum of joy with a negligible amount of risk to those who are uplifted by what we do.
Thank You For Your Consideration.
cc: Kemper Freeman