LAST UPDATED: December 20, 2021

Effective December 19, 2021, the Ontario government is introducing a 50 per cent capacity limit in most indoor public spaces where proof of vaccination is required, including entertainment venues such as concert venues, theatres and cinemas. Food & drink services will be prohibited in these venues, and patrons must remain seated. Read more here.

COVID-19 forced a “lights out” in arts and culture, particularly in the live entertainment sector. With this closure has come a need for us all to familiarize ourselves with a range of new health and best practices to prepare for an eventual reopening. Now that Torontonians are getting vaccinated and restrictions on live entertainment are loosening, it is imperative that we remain vigilant to ensure that audiences can again feel safe within live performance spaces. The lights are turning back on; let’s make sure we keep it that way.

#Lights-On: Recovery and Reboot in Live Entertainment is a series of outreach activities organized by Ryerson’s School of Creative Industries, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation, with support from the City of Toronto, TO Live, SOCAN and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. The project brings together leaders and experts in business, economics, public policy, public health and arts organizations to do the important work of supporting the live entertainment sector in its recovery by building issue-specific strategies and practices.

This Venue Reopening Guide is a collaborative effort of live entertainment organizations and individuals that have reviewed existing published materials to build a resource that is relevant to venues in Toronto. As a community, the number one priority is the safety of our artists, employees and patrons. We understand that it may take time for all venues to reopen, and each venue has unique needs, but we want to help equip the community for this work on an ongoing basis.

We are experiencing a staged approach to reopening as public health regulations change. It will be important that you remain aware of the public health regulation changes and modify your operations accordingly. This guide is not a substitute for guidance from public health authorities.

This guide establishes reasonable practices that will limit the spread of COVID-19 and may serve to reassure patrons that are considering a return to the theatre. Some of the suggested measures in this guide will go above and beyond what is required by law at any given moment. As audiences weigh ongoing risks as they relate to current health and safety requirements, venue operators may wish to employ a breadth of measures to help ease this transition.

For up-to-date public health information and regulations, please ensure you are consulting provincial and city resources. Those resources are linked throughout this guide, or they can be found on the Province of Ontario and City of Toronto websites.

This guide was prepared with volunteers as a tool to help venue managers. It offers practical suggestions to address how venue managers may interpret and operationalize current municipal, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada guidelines and how they might supplement those guidelines. The guide does not constitute any legal or professional advice. It is the responsibility of the venue managers to follow legislative directives and seek appropriate permits or approvals where required. It is also the responsibility of the operator to assess the risks associated with the event and to mitigate those risks. They are also responsible for implementing measures to reduce the risk of infection among all those who participate (e.g. staff, performers and patrons).


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