Sarasota arts organizations announce less restrictive audience protocols for #SafeArtsSarasota

Changes in effect as of March 7

The Sarasota Opera is among the arts and cultural organizations loosening their COVID-19 protocols for audiences. Image from Google Maps

In response to changing COVID-19 conditions, some #SafeArtsSarasota organizations modified their audience protocols as of March 7, they announced.

Circus Arts Conservatory, Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe “will no longer require proof of a recent test or vaccination to enter their venues,” a news release points out. However, face masks covering the nose and mouth still will be required inside the venues, the release adds. Further, the release notes, ticketholders are encouraged to check each organization’s website, “as these policies will be evaluated on a regular basis as conditions evolve.”

The exception to this change is that the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall will screen for negative tests or voluntary vaccine cards for only a few shows, as demanded by artist contracts, the release explains. Van Wezel audience members always should consult the hall’s website safety page for COVID-19 protocols prior to attending any program there, the release adds.

The following organizations will not be changing their protocols at this time, the release continues:

  • Asolo Repertory Theatre remains committed to operating “by the same set of protocols as New York’s Broadway theatres,” the release says. Therefore, it will continue with the current protocols and then re-evaluate them alongside Broadway theatres, on or before April 30, the release points out.
  • The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood:While the majority of Hermitage events will continue to be presented outdoors, any indoor Hermitage events will continue with the current documentation protocols until further notice,” the release notes
  • Sarasota Ballet will continue the current protocols and re-evaluate them by the end of March.

In a joint statement, arts leaders said, “The arts and cultural organizations of Sarasota County are profoundly grateful to our audiences, patrons, artists, crews, and staff for their patience and generous support as we have navigated through the difficult waters of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the release continues. “It has been, to say the least, a difficult time for all. Throughout this journey, we have strived to be responsible citizens by putting health and safety first. This will always be our priority. We believe these modifications can be implemented, while preserving our commitment to the health and welfare of all involved in making and enjoying Sarasota’s many robust artistic experiences.”

“Protocols will continue to be revisited, the release points out. They may be revised based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, the release. “Screening protocols may be added or removed.” Ticketholders are encouraged to check individual organization’s websites for details of protocols and policies for any given organization or event, the release emphasizes.

In their joint statement, arts leaders concluded, “If we have learned anything over the past 2 years, it’s that Covid-19 is a formidable foe. It’s a moving target, continually mutating and spiking, and threatening the efficacy of our vaccine shields. We are committed to pursuing policies offering the safest environment to all involved with the least inconvenience. We thank you again for your patience, and we hope to see you in our venues soon.”

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