Leadership / 09.08.21
Live Theater Is Back — but COVID Questions Remain
Chicago Reader (09/01/21) Reid, Kerry
The Chicago Reader's Kerry Reid reports that Chicago theaters have pretty much been left to their own devices about COVID-era reopening protocols in the absence of civic guidance. With the Delta variant surging, the League of Chicago Theatres has taken its own initiative separate from the city, unveiling before the Aug. 17 announcement of the city's mask mandate "unified COVID-19 protection protocols" from a group of 65-plus performing arts venues and producers. The requirements dictate that patrons must be masked and fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine in order to attend indoor performances, and show proof of vaccination and identification at their time of admission into the venue with their valid ticket. Some venues may still accept proof of a negative test instead of vaccination. Adding confusion to the situation are differing protocols for union and non-union venues, while finding scalable and practical solutions to ensure safety for artists and audiences during an ongoing pandemic leaves many unanswered questions. The growing number of COVID cases in Illinois has made some producers reconsider opening in the first place, while Reid breaks down artists' feelings from an informal social media survey. Not in Our House co-founder Laura Fisher, for example, wants proof of vaccine, masks, a ban on selling drinks/food concessions, curtain speeches by staff, no talkbacks and no long shows enforced. As for ensuring artist and crew safety, Fisher's recommendations include dressing room cleaning protocols, masks offstage, twice-weekly testing, extra activity limitations and limits on who is in rehearsal.
Read the full story from the Chicago Reader.
Tags: Theater , News , Musicals , Venues , COVID-19 , Coronavirus