Clarifying the Public Health Regulations for ‘Step 2’ of the Reopening Ontario Plan
Today, Ontario enters into Step 2 of its Reopening Ontario plan. While Step 2 still includes heavy restrictions for many arts and culture organizations, it does allow for increased gathering limits and outdoor events, and it paves the way for museums, galleries, and performing arts organizations to be able to reopen in Step 3.
In this Bulletin, we will provide some clarification about what Step 2 means for the arts. If you’re looking for general information about Step 2, including gathering size limits and rules for businesses, this CTV article does a great job of breaking it down, and you can find more on the provincial government’s official Reopening Ontario page.
Peterborough Public Health Updates: Reopening Rules and Regulations
As Peterborough enters Step 2 of its Reopening Ontario Plan, Keith Beecroft, Public Health Promoter at Peterborough Public Health, has put together a fantastic explanation of how these new regulations work for the arts:
Indoor Concert Venues, Theatres and Cinemas (Schedule 2, Section 24)
- No live audiences indoors
- Rehearsing, broadcasting, live streaming, and recording indoors, is permitted
Legalese from the Regulations:
24. Indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance if they comply with the following conditions:
1. No spectators may be permitted in the concert venue, theatre or cinema.
2. Every performer and other person who provides work for the concert venue, theatre or cinema must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except,
i. if it is necessary for the purposes of the performance or rehearsal that the performers or persons who provide work for the concert venue, theatre or cinema must be closer to each other, or
ii. where necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
3. The person responsible for the concert venue, theatre or cinema must,
i. record the name and contact information of every performer and other person who provides work for the concert venue, theatre or cinema who enters an indoor area of the facility,
ii. maintain the records for a period of at least one month, and
iii. only disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
Outdoor Concert Venues, Theatres And Cinemas (Schedule 2, Section 25)
- Up to 25% capacity of the outdoor space’s usual seating capacity may be in attendance for live performances
- Staff and performers at the venue do not count towards capacity limits (i.e. staff + 25% capacity would be fine, though ‘less is best’)
- Reservations must be made
- Guests must remain seated at all times; no ‘standing room’ permitted
- Capacity limits for the venue must be posted
- A safety plan must be developed for the space:
- The safety plan must describe how the requirements of this Order will be implemented in the location including by screening, physical distancing, requiring masks or face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects, the wearing of personal protective equipment and preventing and controlling crowding.
Legalese from the Regulations:
25. Outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open if they comply with the following conditions:
1. The number of members of the public in the outdoor area of the concert venue, theatre or cinema at any one time must not exceed 25 per cent capacity, determined by taking the total square metres of the outdoor area accessible to the public in the concert venue, theatre or cinema, dividing that number by 16 and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number.
2. The number of members of the public at a seated concert, event, performance or movie within the concert venue, theatre or cinema at any one time must not exceed 25 per cent of the usual seating capacity for the concert, event, performance or movie.
3. No member of the public may attend a seated concert, event, performance or movie within the concert venue, theatre or cinema unless they have made a reservation to do so.
4. No member of the public may be permitted to enter the indoor premises of the concert venue, theatre or cinema, except,
i. to access a washroom,
ii. to access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route,
iii. to engage in retail sales, or
iv. as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
5. The person responsible for the concert venue, theatre or cinema must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which the concert venue, theatre or cinema is permitted to operate and the capacity limits of any seated concert, event, performance or movie within the concert venue, theatre or cinema.
6. The person responsible for the concert venue, theatre or cinema must prepare a safety plan in accordance with section 3.3 of Schedule 1.
Live Entertainment (Schedule 1, Section 6)
- Dancing is not permitted at any venue (O. Reg. 263/20, Schedule 2, Section 1 – Restaurants and Bars – Subsection 11)
- A minimum distance of 3m is required between spectators and performers or an impermeable barrier
Legalese from the Regulations:
6. (1) The person responsible for a business or place that is open shall ensure that, if live entertainment is performed for spectators at the business or place, the performers maintain a physical distance of at least three metres from any spectators or are separated from any spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
Understanding Capacity Limits
- If the live entertainment is being offered at a business that does not primarily offer this service (e.g., restaurant patios, farmers’ markets, retail stores, etc.), the capacity limits for that business will apply.
- If live entertainment is being offered as part of a private social gathering in a private space (backyard, etc.) or at an outdoor municipal space (with approvals from the municipality) the social gathering limit of up to 25 people will apply.
- If a live entertainment event is being offered at an outdoor concert venue, theatre, or cinema, the capacity limit can be up to 25% of that space.
- Please note: in all settings, a minimum distance of 3m (or an impermeable barrier) is required between performers and spectators.
Final Words from Keith
The chorus from this family favorite seems apt right now – “And we will come back home; Home, again!” – we’re getting there, and we are so appreciative of you helping us support this sector.
Please stay well and let us know how we can help.
TRACK THE IMPACT.
As always, keep checking the EC3 Facebook page, @ECThreePtbo on Twitter, @ec3ptbo on Instagram, and the COVID-19 Updates page on EC3’s website, where we are providing daily updates on programs and services available for ACH workers and organizations.
Be safe, stay healthy, and please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Su Ditta and the EC3 Board and staff