In a press release sent by Arts Orange County (the nonprofit countywide arts council), eight of Orange County’s largest performing arts organizations have joined together to announce vaccination and mask mandates for all upcoming indoor performances.
In partnership with Arts Orange County, those eight arts organizations are Irvine Barclay Theatre, Musco Center for the Arts, Pacific Chorale, Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Soka Performing Arts Center and South Coast Repertory.
Those arts organizations have adopted the commitment to require ticket holders to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear a mask while inside the venues.
In a statement, Segerstrom Center for the Arts President Casey Reitz said the health and safety of audiences, artists, crew and staff is paramount, and that reducing exposure to COVID-19 can ensure a safe environment for everyone.
“Our staff has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure ticket holders have peace of mind enjoying the show, knowing that you are in the safest space possible,” said Reitz. “We want to continue providing everyone the experience of live entertainment. The success in reopening live performing arts venues lies heavily with everyone. Having a fully vaccinated audience ensures a safe environment.
And, to paraphrase Shakespeare’s “one man in his time plays many parts,” Reitz stated that “everyone plays an important part, not just on stage, but in the audience. We are excited to raise the curtain again!”
According to Arts Orange County, they have throughout the pandemic brought together the leaders of these major arts venues, producing and presenting organizations to discuss the impact on their operations, hear from health experts, and advocate for safe reopening policies and resources. The decision to require vaccination and mandatory mask wearing for all indoor performances is the outcome of these continuing conversations.
“The arts and culture sector has been among the most severely devastated by the COVID pandemic shutdown, and we redirected our efforts to provide assistance in a variety of ways to Orange County’s hard-hit arts community,” said Richard Stein, Arts Orange County President and CEO.
Pacific Symphony President and CEO, John Forsyte, added, “The opportunity to return to the pristine acoustics of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and other outstanding Orange County venues, with a full audience, requires our implementation of these new safety protocols.”
Jerry Mandel, Irvine Barclay Theatre President, stated, “The most effective way to reduce transmission and remain healthy is by following procedures, including vaccination, and wearing a mask. This policy will offer clarity and reassure all ticket holders that we take their safety seriously.”
In conjunction with the recent California state guidelines, proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will be required to attend all indoor gatherings. Fully vaccinated means the day of the performance is at least 14 days after the patron’s second dose of a two dose COVID-19 vaccine or at least 14 days after their single dose of a single dose COVID-19 vaccine. Masks are required to be worn at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
All participating organizations of the Arts Orange County coalition will also require their artists to be fully vaccinated.
Renee Bodie, Soka Performing Arts Center General Manager, said that “we all have been taken aback by the need to return to more stringent guidelines for the reopening of performing arts venues. As we pivot and prepare for our stages to be active again, we must carefully consider the safety of our patrons, students, staff, and artists as our top priority, as well as university and state directives. These mandates will allow us to safely share the beauty of live music with our patrons once again, something we have all been waiting a long time for.”
This vaccination policy is in effect for all indoor performances now and will be re-assessed on an ongoing basis and may adjust as public health circumstances evolve. These protocols are based on the most current information available for the live entertainment venue industry, as well as other pertinent industries. These organizations will continue to monitor guidelines from the CDC, state, and county, for the latest public health guidance to continually update these procedures.
Paula Tomei, South Coast Repertory Managing Director, states “To protect everyone’s health and safety, arts organizations and audiences must work together and take the necessary measures to help to stop the spread of COVID-19. It is clear what protocols are required in order for us to enjoy live performances safely once again. And by establishing these requirements now, we ensure that we do not delay the return of the performing arts any longer.”
For additional information as well as specifics related to each performing arts organization’s safety policies, please visit the links below:
Arts Orange County is a 25-year-old independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to build appreciation of, participation in, and support for the arts and arts education in Orange County, California. It is designated by the Board of Supervisors as the official local arts agency of the County of Orange.
Arts Orange County offers traditional arts council programs and services, such as the annual Imagination Celebration, a countywide month-long festival of arts for children, the Orange County Arts Awards, the Creative Edge Lecture, and professional development for arts leaders. It also serves as a consultant to local government, arts organizations, and education in the areas of strategic planning and public art. Visit www.ArtsOC.org.