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Mirvish Theaters is lifting mask mandates on Canada Day

Notice to spectators: the masks come off at the Mirvish Productions sites.

Mirvish will end masking requirements in theaters from July 1 for members of the public.

A company spokesperson John Karastamatis said theater staff will continue to wear masks and actors will also mask up backstage.

“We believe it is now safe enough to allow members of the public to decide for themselves whether they want to be masked or not,” Karastamatis said.

“We recommended it, and in fact, we do it ourselves. But we recognize that times have changed.

Although the company does not require them, Mirvish recommends that patrons continue to wear masks that fully cover the nose, mouth and chin when attending a performance.

Ontario lifted mask requirements for most indoor settings, such as schools, movie theaters, sports stadiums, stores, gyms and restaurants on March 21. Provincial mask requirements for high-risk environments, including public transit and hospitals, expired on June 11. Some Toronto hospitals and businesses, including Chapman’s Ice Cream and Sunnybrook, have chosen to continue to require them individually.

Earlier in June, Karastamatis told The Star that all Mirvish theaters would require masks until at least the end of the month, per New York-based Broadway League policies. Broadway theaters have announced they will also lift mask mandates in July.

Mirvish also says this announcement follows similar decisions by Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall, which no longer require patrons to wear a mask but continue to recommend patrons continue to hide.

Karastamatis said Thursday that Mirvish Production’s mask policy would change with the pandemic and that theaters would reevaluate masking in the fall.

“The work we do depends on community members coming together in an indoor space to participate in something, sitting side by side,” Karastamatis said.

“So we can’t be insensitive about that.”

With files from Olivia Bowden and May Warren.


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