Shows are going on as scheduled currently at the Royal Theatre (above) and McPherson Playhouse in Victoria, with added precautionary disinfecting of surfaces being undertaken to reduce the risk to patrons of contracting COVID-19. Black Press file photo

COVID-19: Precautions being taken, Victoria shows going on so far

Live performance venues ramp up theatre sanitizing measures to help prevent spread of virus

While various large-scale events are being postponed around the continent to reduce the spread of COVID-19, local stage theatres in Victoria are upping their cleaning protocols and staying open for business.

The Belfry Theatre, currently hosting its annual Spark Festival, issued a statement this morning saying it is “continuing to welcome guests” to its theatres and scheduled events.”

“The health and safety of our audience, volunteers and staff are a top priority, and we are closely monitoring the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation,” the release said.

“We are following the guidance of provincial and local health officials, the BC Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. As a preventive measure, our custodial staff is cleaning surfaces regularly throughout the day. Any glassware that we use at our bar/concession has been and will continue to be washed and sanitized after each use.”

To minimize risk, the theatre asked anyone who is sick, returning from affected areas or have underlying health conditions that may be impacted by respiratory illness to stay home. It advised patrons who have tickets to upcoming events to call the box office at 250-385-6815 to discuss options.

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The University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre is in a similar scenario and is also increasing its diligence when it comes to disinfecting its lobby and other theatre spaces. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, too, issued a statement today indicating that it is remaining open and monitoring information from regional and national health agencies, while increasing its cleaning and sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces.

As of today, both the NBA and NHL seasons have been put on hold, the Juno Awards festival and gala and the Vancouver Auto Show have been cancelled, as have various small events in Victoria, all due to concerns over the outbreak and potential spread of COVID-19.

Earlier this week the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society, which operates the Royal Theatre and McPherson Playhouse, two of the city’s largest performance venues, issued a statement saying it is monitoring closely the public health scenario surrounding COVID-19. That includes following advisories and guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), BC Ministry of Health and Vancouver Island Health Authority.

“At this time, PHAC has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada,” the release stated. “Currently, we are continuing with all concerts and events as originally planned …”

Added to its regular cleaning protocol are extra precautionary measures such as locating hand sanitizers around the theatres, disinfecting doorknobs, doors, counters, handrails, armrests and other commonly touched surfaces daily.

Unless otherwise directed by public health officials and agencies, the Society says, “all events will go on as scheduled. If there are any changes to our schedule, we will notify all ticket buyers. The latest updates will be posted at rmts.bc.ca.

Stay tuned for other updates as they are received, at mondaymag.com.


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