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Cheer Up Charlies temporarily closes 'to protect our communities' amid omicron spread

Red River Cultural District venue Cheer Up Charlies will be closed through Dec. 26.

Red River Cultural District venue Cheer Up Charlies announced on Instagram that it will close from Thursday through Dec. 26, in order "to protect our communities associated with our space's extended ecosystems."

The closure also means the cancellation of several weekend events, which include a Friday concert with Austin indie-punk band A Giant Dog, as well as a Middle School Dance Party with DJ Boyfriend ATX on Saturday.

While the post did not go into detail about the decision process, it did read: "Omicron is present in our community and we want to go ahead and take extra early precautions so that we can all be healthy for (New Year's Eve)." The post also mentioned that owners anticipated crowds if they were to stay open.

An inquiry to the venue's owners was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Austin and Travis County have not reported a major increase in COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations since the omicron variant was first detected in Austin, although the community transmission rate remains high. The Austin area remains in Stage 3 of its five-stage, risk-based guidelines, which indicate the threat level for community spread of the coronavirus.

And the University of Texas reported a notable spike in positive tests among students on Wednesday. “Looking at the public-facing UT-Austin dashboard, we do see a six- to seven-fold increase in test positivity (among students) this week compared to last week, and that's among those who come and test voluntarily,” UT epidemiologist Darlene Bhavnani said.

More:University of Texas sees 'alarming' spike in COVID-19 cases likely due to omicron variant

The move from Cheer Up Charlies is not the only recent music cancellation related to the pandemic. On Sunday, singer-songwriter Pat Byrne posted to Facebook that he had tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated plus receiving a booster shot. He has postponed a scheduled vinyl-release show on Saturday at the 04 Center to Jan. 8.

"Since we are closing for two full weeks, folks have asked to donate to our staff and employees to offset their losses," Cheer Up Charlies wrote on Instagram.

Megan Menchaca contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Cheer Up Charlies announced the closure on Wednesday afternoon. They posted to Instagram on Thursday afternoon.