Quebec Premier François Legault has announced the reopening of concert halls, theatres and movie theatres in red zones, with distancing and compliance with strict health measures, starting March 26.
The provisions will allow events at venues for up to 250 people, but will require patrons to wear masks and adhere to physical distancing. Places of worship will expand to a maximum of 25 people, up from 10.
According to Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, the number of new cases appears to be hitting a plateau. The variants remain a concern, and loosening of restrictions are being done step-by-step.
It did not take long for Quebec’s Orchestre Métropolitain to announce their first live in-person concert on March 27 at Maison symphonique de Montréal.
“We welcome this news with a lot of emotion,” wrote Yannick Nezet-Seguin in a statement on social media. “The public’s return to the indoor will give a breath to the Montreal community, our artists and cultural workers, to the citizens who will echo the emotions experienced in the last twelve months. It’s time to find yourself, to move, to escape, to rethink the living-together. The arts will show us the way to get there.”
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal was also quick to express their excitement that they would be returning to live concerts soon.
“The Montreal Symphony Orchestre is delighted with the announcement made today by the Quebec government that the vibrant arts sector can gradually reunite with its audience in theatres,” wrote OSM CEO Madeleine Careau. “The safety and well-being of the public and all staff remains our top priority. We anticipate the pleasure of welcoming our loyal audience as soon as possible to the Maison symphonique during a new program to be announced shortly!”
Quebec’s controversial 8 p.m. curfew in the red zones, will be pushed to 9:30 p.m., starting Wednesday. Event organizers will likely need to start concerts earlier, or shorten programs to ensure people can get home on time.
Quebec currently has 6,753 active cases, with just over 1 million vaccinated. Ontario now has 12,506 active cases with nearly 1.5 million vaccinated
With files from Caroline Rodgers.
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