Petrolia asks province to ease theater rules

Actors and singers have not been able to perform since the pandemic began.

Petrolia council is backing a call to allow more people to come into Ontario’s theaters.

Theaters were among the first things to close when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across Ontario. There have been few live events since then since the province will allow only 50 people inside at a time. And artists are hurting.

“This survival is absolutely at risk,” officials from the arts girl Ontario Presents wrote. “Artists, agents, and many other professionals in our sector have found themselves suddenly and completely without income, with little hope of revenue in the coming months.

“Performing arts venues have closed their doors since March and most are also facing little to no income until January 2021 at the earliest.”

Victoria Playhouse Petrolia has also been closed since March, delaying the 2020 season. It had been hoped some of the Christmas entertainment might be possible in November and December, however with the province grappling with the second wave of COVID-19, the province has clamped down even further on indoor gatherings to just 10 people.

“Many cultural workers have been laid off or seen their contract hours reduced to nothing, with little hope of work returning in the near future.”

Ontario Presents and six other arts organizations are asking communities with theatres to support their call to allow theatres to have 30 per cent capacity in the theatre – similar to churches.

The arts organization is asking arts venues to have at least 30 per cent of their capacity with some physical distancing. The venues would be required to have plexiglass between singers/wind musicians and audience only if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The group also wants Public Health Ontario to look at air filtration and establish air filtration guidelines for performing arts spaces.Councillors during the Sept. 28th meeting agreed to send its letter to the Minister of Finance and Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey.