LAST UPDATED: November 23rd, 2020

COVID-19 has swiftly forced a “lights out” in arts and culture, particularly in the live entertainment sector. While we remain socially, economically and politically focused on understanding the impacts to both individuals and organizations, it is also imperative that we begin to think forward to when we are able to turn the lights back on.

#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 begin 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 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 to reopen, and each venue has unique needs, but we want to help the community prepare for this work.

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. While we can plan, we cannot predict when the sector will be able to reopen with audiences in attendance. Moreover, we recognize that each venue will need to determine its own capacity for reopening, largely based on its ability to ensure physical distancing for patrons.

While the permitted capacities for houses of worship and entertainment are inconsistent, it is important that venues unify to lobby for change. While lobbying, venues must ensure stringent operating procedures to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

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. 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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