By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A year without live music is coming to an end as entertainment venues are preparing to welcome back fans.

COVID-19 brought concerts to a halt at The Medina Entertainment Center. Now after a year of silence, a remodel, and safety plans, this place is ready to rock again.

For 65 years, the family-run business has brought in some of the biggest stars in the music industry.

“2019 was one of the best years we’ve ever had. I mean we had so many shows you couldn’t find enough entertainment and the bands were doing all great, the numbers were good, and then COVID hit,” Mark Raskob said.

The pandemic shut down the Medina Entertainment Center, but the team has adjusted their procedures since last March.

“We have so many different departments. You got catering, you got bowling, you got the restaurant, [we] put shields everywhere to make it safe for our customers and for employees,” Raskob said.

The ballroom at the Medina Entertainment Center holds 2,300 people, but in order to keep concert goers safe, the owners want to make sure only 250 people are allowed inside.

“At 250 we’re under 11% of our capacity so we have plenty of room to social distance,” Raskob said.

Tables spaced six feet apart and maxed out with four chairs, dancing to the music is allowed but only in the space by your seat.

“We’ll serve them at the table so they don’t even have to get up and get a drink if they don’t want to. We’re going to have food service too. They can order the food on their phones from we’ll bring it out to their tables,” said Raskob.

The addition of two sets of bathrooms inside the music venue alone makes social distancing easier. Raskob also said the center invested in equipment to keep the air inside as fresh as possible.

“We got some new HVAC units and now we can exchange the air a lot faster, bringing in the fresh air take out the old air and that helps a lot,” Raskob added.

The investments will help to keep music fans safe and coming through the door, searching for live music.

“Come here listen to some good music have some fun enjoy forget about all your troubles,” said Raskob.

Medina Entertainment Center hopes to welcome big national acts back to the stage by late Fall.

Click here to see a list of bands set to perform starting in April.

Reg Chapman