Indoor entertainment venues in Ohio clear to open

Theaters, concert and music halls, and convention centers can reopen, though many local venues are still playing it safe
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 9:38 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The doors of the Toledo Repertoire Theatre and the historic Valentine Theatre have been closed for months.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s recent order provides guidelines for theaters, concert and music halls, and convention centers to reopen at 15 percent capacity, with some new guidelines to follow, of course.

During performances, performers will not be required to wear masks or social distance, although it is recommended to do so when possible.

Appropriate six-foot distance, face masks, and signage for such is expected to be enforced for all patrons, staff, and performers when they are not performing. Hand sanitizers and sanitization products are also required to be readily available for all. Seating must be arranged and/or assigned to allow that distance between groups of audience members.

The order also recommended intermissions during shows be eliminated to discourage patrons from congregating.

Jori Jex, Executive Director at the Valentine says this is not the venue’s first pandemic in its 125 years, and the show must go on. For now, the curtain cannot rise just yet.

“We were the first to close and we’ll be the last to open,” says Jex. “For an average national tour coming through we really need to be performing to 60-80 percent capacity just to cover our costs.”

Additionally, the touring acts that usually make stops at the Valentine are still not rehearsing yet. The theatre is a nonprofit and has taken advantage of government loans and philanthropy from generous patrons of the arts.

At the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, you can see outdoor rehearsals taking place in the parking lot. The theatre has taken advantage of some outdoor opportunities to perform for a limited audience, also streaming them online.

“For us, it gives us a little bit of hope that we can salvage some of our season,” says Bonnie Herrmann, the office manager. “We’ve been working actually since June with the health department, and this is our second production now that we are doing to perform outdoors.”

Chess: The Musical, is planned to be performed at Ottawa Park next month.

Under the new order, actors will not be required to wear a face mask or socially distance during the show, but the Rep says they are playing it safe. A board meeting is planned for early September to discuss how to proceed with future shows with the new guidelines in place.

“We will probably actually be more strict than the guidance that was issued,” Herrmann said. “As far as any of that goes I don’t know what shows specifically, or if they will be looking at other shows but we did announce the season before COVID hit so we’ll see.”

For more information about the Toledo Rep. and tickets for Chess: The Musical, click here.

The Valentine is hoping to reopen sometime in 2021. For online entertainment and other opportunities at the Valentine, click here.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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