In a remarkable show of solidarity, more than a dozen Greater Cincinnati performing arts groups announced a unified set of protocols they will adhere to when they return to “normal” business in the upcoming months.
Basically, the arts organizations will require that all patrons wear masks and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before being admitted to indoor performances. Policies for children under 12 years old will vary by organization.
The organizations that have signed on to this announcement are:
- Cincinnati Ballet
- Cincinnati Opera
- Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
- Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
- Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
- Cincinnati Pops
- Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati
- Know Theatre of Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Arts Association is also a signatory, representing all of its resident companies; Broadway in Cincinnati, Cincinnati Music Theater, Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative, Exhale Dance Tribe, Mutual Dance Theatre and Revolution Dance Theatre.
Many of the groups have adopted slight variations on the group protocols. For instance, while most of the organizations intend to reopen at full capacity, the Know Theatre has said its first indoor shows will be sold at a reduced capacity. Just how much the audience will be reduced depends on the pandemic numbers at the time, said associate artistic director Tamara Winters. The Know has even adopted a 2/3 capacity policy for its current production of “Mongrel,” being presented through Sept. 12 at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum in Hamilton.
Other major venues are adopting similar, if different, policies. Music & Event Management Inc., the CSO subsidiary that operates Riverbend Music Center, PNC Pavilion, the Icon Music Center and the Taft Theatre, announced that beginning Oct. 4, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be mandatory. In the meantime, masking will be a patron’s choice unless required by a particular performer.
Across the river, at PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation, masks are also optional. But the vaccination/proof of negative test requirement is already in place.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have monitored regional COVID data and followed the advice of our partners at TriHealth and public health officials to implement stringent safety protocols. At this time, as the delta variant continues to push the number of COVID cases in the wrong direction, we feel that this is our most responsible action to continue to aggressively protect the health and safety of our employees and our audiences,” said Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra president and CEO Jonathan Martin. “Having this policy in place means we can move beyond social distancing and allows us to safely accommodate the entire orchestra on stage as well as the ability to open the entire capacity of the auditorium to audiences.”
Be aware, though, depending on the daily COVID-19 numbers, requirements may change at any time. Before heading off to any performance, you should check with the group’s website or box office to see the current status.