The January 30 performance by Rainbow Dance Theatre, Ilumidance, has been postponed. (The ACT Arts Centre/Special to The News)

The January 30 performance by Rainbow Dance Theatre, Ilumidance, has been postponed. (The ACT Arts Centre/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge theatre postpones January shows due to COVID

New entry guidelines at The ACT

Performances have been postponed for the month of January and new entry guidelines have been outlined for the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge.

A notice on the centre’s website said the performances are being rescheduled for later in the season and patrons are being contacted.

Postponed performances include One, Two, Trio – Brass, part of the Coffee Concert series; and a performance by Rainbow Dance Theatre called Ilumidance.

All other shows February onward are still scheduled as planned.

Curtis Pendleton, executive director of The ACT, said, like all businesses, they had to activate their COVID-19 plan and the measures they are taking now are exactly the same as the ones they enacted early in the pandemic.

“The measures have been activated to keep our staff and patrons as safe as possible during the current fifth wave and to preserve the operational capacity of The ACT,” said Pendleton.

Pendleton noted that only the two shows had to be rescheduled, “so the effect on patrons has been minimal”.

In addition to postponing the shows, the facility is now only open to registered participants and invited guests until further notice.

“The safety of our patrons, staff and volunteers will always be primary,” remarked Pendleton.

In addition, the ACT Art Gallery is open to visitors by timed-entry sign ups from 10-3 p..m. Tuesday to Saturday. Walk-ups will be welcome if capacity and staffing allow.

And there are new access and safety procedures for arts learning programs at the centre. These include different entry locations for different classes. For ceramics and clay courses, students must enter and exit the building by the instructor at the Edge Street door. For all other classes including visual arts, textile arts and theatre arts, students must enter and exit by the instructor at the front doors of the facility, by Memorial Peace Park.

All students must hand sanitize upon entry and wear a mask properly covering their nose, mouth, and chin – unless they are under the age of five.

Adult class participants and adults attending Parent and Tot classes must have their B.C. or federal vaccine card QR scanned on the first day of classes along with a photo ID. Then they must either sign a written consent for the centre to keep a record of the vaccination scan for the duration of the class or have their vaccine card scanned each time they enter the building.

Proof of vaccination for children 12 year and older is required to attend future shows or an event where food and drink are served, to visit the art gallery, and to visit the gift shop.

Parents are being asked to drop off and pick up their children on time.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge signs three-year deal for operation of The ACT

ALSO: In 2020 – The ACT shuts its doors

To access the building, there is a doorbell located at both the front and back door, but only for emergency entrance only.

The centre is making clear anyone with any cold-like or flu symptoms – runny nose, cough, fever – will not be allowed to access the building. If a child exhibits any symptoms during class they will be immediately isolated and their parents will be contacted.

“Patrons are advised to anticipate unexpected cancellations to programs and closures in the event that the ACT experiences a staffing issue due to illness,” the centre also noted.

“In the case of a cancellation or closure, registered patrons will be notified by email whenever possible. We appreciate your understanding and continued support.”

Participants are being asked to check their emails regularly for updated information prior to each class.

Anyone in the centre is being asked to follow social distancing rules, to cough or sneeze into an elbow, to avoid touching surfaces, and to be respectful of fellow visitors.

Pendleton noted the centre saw several sold-out shows during the fall season and believes people are hungry to return to the theatres – if they feel safe.

However, Pendleton added, until the Omicron surge abates and more people receive boosters, she anticipates there will be a return to hesitation in attending theatre events.

Even though the centre has continued to see a loss of revenue throughout the pandemic, Pendleton is optimistic about the future.

“With provincial and federal aid and relief funding and the generosity of our annual fund donors, we are confident that we can weather several months of continued low revenue,” said Pendleton.

“The good news today is that the public health office believes some parts of B.C. may have reached peak infection rates already, which suggests that we may see a much better landscape in the late winter and early spring for people to come back into performing arts spaces.”

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