Gov. DeWine announces performance theaters can soon reopen with 15% seated capacity

Gov. DeWine announces performance theaters can soon reopen with 15% seated capacity
The 4,200 crystal, 20-foot tall grand chandelier hangs from a 44-foot high steel structure in Cleveland's Playhouse Square. (Source: Michael Dakota)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave a glimpse of what the reopening order for performance theaters will look like once Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signs it in the near future.

While details of the order are still being worked on, the Governor said that the order will cap interior venue attendance at the lesser of 15% of their fixed-seated capacity or 300 people while outdoor venue attendance will be capped at the lesser of 15% of their fixed seating capacity or 1,500 people.

The governor said many of the guidelines on the reopening order for theaters will align with the limits on spectators at sports venues in the Director’s Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club and Professional Sports.

Below are some of the requirements and recommendations the Responsible RestartOhio plan describes for performance theaters.

Actors, dancers, directors, conductors, musicians, other performers, producers, employees, and volunteers are required to do the following:

  • Maintain a minimum of six feet between individuals when not rehearsing/performing. When rehearsing/performing, maintain physical distance to the extent possible. When not possible, limit the amount and length of close contact as much as possible.
  • To the extent possible, minimize cross-team contact between actors, stage managers, directing staff, music team, choreography team, creative team, and production staff.
  • No congregating before or after practices/rehearsals/performances is permitted.
  • It is recommended that individuals traveling to Ohio from a state on Ohio’s travel advisory list self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival before participating in rehearsals/performances.

The Responsible RestartOhio plan makes the following recommendations for actors, dancers, directors, conductors, musicians, other performers, producers, employees, and volunteers:

  • When possible, a face covering with a small slit for mouthpiece access should be worn while playing an instrument. In instrument groups where a face covering cannot physically be worn while playing, a face covering should be worn over the chin and replaced during periods when not playing.
  • Speaking loudly, singing, and playing some musical instruments may pose a greater risk of airborne transmission of the coronavirus. Consequently, it is recommended to maintain social distancing during auditions, rehearsals and performances, preferably more than 6 feet.
  • Pre-record chorus numbers to reduce the number of performers singing live on stage an any one time.

As for patrons of the performance theaters, the requirements are:

  • The maximum number of individuals gathered in an OUTDOOR venue is the lesser of 15% of fixed, seated capacity or 1,500 individuals. The maximum number of individuals gathered in an INDOOR venue is the lesser of 15% of fixed, seating capacity or 300 individuals. These capacity limits apply unless a venue’s local health department and the Ohio Department of Health approve a venue’s variance plan for a different maximum capacity limit.
  • Social distancing must be maintained throughout the venue, and seating must be arranged and assigned to allow for 6 feet in each direction between groups of: (1) No more than four individuals, or (2) Members of one household (i.e., parents/guardians and dependent children).
  • No congregating before or after performances is permitted.

The order recommends that patrons:

  • Seat patrons at least 12 feet (preferably more) from performers. If necessary, do not allow patron seating in the front row(s) to maintain such distancing.

As for intermissions, the requirement is:

• If an intermission is held, announce at the start that facial coverings must be worn, congregating in the lobby is prohibited, and patrons should return to their seats as quickly as possible.

However, it is recommended that performance theaters:

  • Consider not holding intermissions to minimize congregating/ lines in the lobby, restroom, etc.

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