Wilmington’s Grand Opera House resumes indoor shows at its three venues this month after being closed by the pandemic for over a year.
But things will look different.
The Grand announced this week it will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of an event, at least for now.
“This was a difficult decision to make," said The Grand’s executive director Mark Fields. "Because we know that people are unhappy with these kinds of restrictions. But basically what it came down to for us is this is the way we felt that we could best ensure the comfort and security and safety of everyone involved in attending a live performance in the middle of a pandemic.”
And Fields says they did not make the decision lightly.
“I think it is important to note that we made this decision in consultation with our colleagues and with public health associations and organizations to make sure that we were doing the right thing. I think this policy is in step with what a lot of our colleague venues are doing in our communities," said Fields. "And it’s temporary.”
Fields says the policy will be re-evaluated monthly based on local infection rates and in consultation with public health officials.
Fields adds that audience members must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status, unless they are actively eating or drinking.
If someone is seen without a mask, they get one warning before being removed from the venue.
The Grand’s first event is on September 26 when comedian Brian Regan takes the stage.
To date, no artist scheduled to perform starting later this month has canceled.
Fields says artists are eager to get back up on stage in front of their audiences.
He notes that most don’t do this simply as a way to make a living, they do this because it “feeds them as people.”