Theatergoers take note: masks are coming off at Mirvish Productions locations.
Mirvish will end masking requirements in theaters beginning July 1 for audience members.
A spokesperson for the company John Karastamatis said theater staff will continue wearing masks and actors will also mask up backstage.
“We think it is safe enough now to allow audience members to make their own decision whether they want to be masked or not,” Karastamatis said.
“We’ve recommended it, and in fact we do it ourselves. But we do recognize that times have changed.”
While the company won’t require them, Mirvish does recommend that patrons continue to wear masks that fully cover the nose, mouth and chin while attending a performance.
Ontario lifted mask requirements for most indoor settings, like schools, movie theatres, sports stadiums, stores, gyms and restaurants on March 21. Provincial mask requirements for high-risk settings, including public transit and hospitals, expired on June 11. Some Toronto hospitals and businesses, including Chapman’s Ice Cream and Sunnybrook, chose to continue to require them individually.
Earlier in June, Karastamatis told the Star all Mirvish theaters would require masks at least until the end of the month, keeping in line with the New York City-based Broadway League’s policies. Broadway theaters announced they would also be lifting mask mandates in July.
Mirvish also says this announcement follows similar decisions by the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall, all of which no longer require their patrons to wear a mask but continue recommending that patrons continue to mask up.
Karastamatis said on Thursday Mirvish Production’s mask policy would change with the pandemic, and theaters would be reassessing masking in the fall.
“The work that we do is dependent on members of the community coming together in an indoor space to participate in something, sitting shoulder to shoulder,” Karastamatis said.
“So we can’t be callous about this.”
With files from Olivia Bowden and May Warren.
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