The Talbot County Council will look at a measure on Tuesday, Jan. 26, that would potentially amend the county code to clarify language allowing outdoor theaters to sell alcoholic beverages during events under their existing liquor licenses.

On its face, the proposed legislation looks like governmental housekeeping. But the proposal could mean a lot more later this year when performing arts venues and nonprofit groups start bringing back events, concerts and festivals.

The Avalon Foundation has plans to bring back its outdoor concert venue next to the Talbot Town Shopping Center in March after a winter hiatus. The Avalon debuted the pavilion in November as a way to host concerts and other events while abiding by social distancing and other COVID rules.

The Easton-based foundation and parent of the Avalon Theatre could make the outdoor venue a more permanent fixture for hosting concerts as well as events for schools and community events. If the county change helps the Avalon and other groups put on more concerts and outdoor events, then we are all for it.

We all know the clock is ticking on so many restaurants, bars, small businesses and performing arts venues and organizations. They simply cannot take another year akin to 2020 with the pandemic, government restrictions and consumer uncertainty.

We all hope the coronavirus situation improves this year, and we have more confidence and less fear about our economic paths forward. So many jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

Last year, we saw communities searching for ways to help restaurants survive COVID restrictions.

The town of Easton, for example, came up with a creative curbside dining program to help Washington Street restaurants offer more outdoor tables.

That program ended in November but we hope it, or something else that’s creative, can return to help Easton’s restaurants and shops in the spring.

Communities across the country are looking at other ways to help save local businesses and the jobs they create.

There will be plenty of good ideas to choose from that can help our economy here on the Eastern Shore.

Events are so important to our economy and quality of life here on the Mid-Shore. The Avalon Theatre and other venues across the Shore, as well as the Waterfowl Festival and other events, create jobs and tax revenue. They also add character, creativity and soul to where we live and work.

All the challenges and problems from the pandemic are also presenting opportunities.

We have the chance to innovate and find creative new ways of doing business, hosting events and putting on concerts. We have the chance to set ourselves apart from other communities and become a standard bearer for innovation and creativity during and after the pandemic.

The Avalon’s pavilion in Easton is an example of that. The outdoor venue has garnered national attention for the Avalon and Easton.

We know 2021 presents many of the same difficulties as 2020. But the new year also offers chances to be innovative and creative while helping the backbones of the Shore’s economy and our local communities.

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