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Orchestra Toronto’s COVID-19 Response

Core Principles

  • We are a community and we keep each other safe.
  • The health and social benefits of playing together and sharing our music are at the core of what we do.
  • We will treat all members of our community with care and respect. If a member does not feel safe returning to rehearsals right now, we will respect and support that decision, and make space for them when they do.
  • We will continue to refine our protocol and practices based on the best, most current research available.
  • Plans will change as circumstances change. We will communicate changes clearly and promptly.

Rehearsing Safely

Playing together is at the heart of what we do. In close consultation with our medical advisor, Orchestra Toronto has developed careful COVID-19 protocols to allow us to continue to rehearse and as long as we are permitted to do so. These protocols will be updated as public health recommendations and best practices develop over time.

Ways we have responded to COVID-19 at rehearsals

  • Updated programming, to allow for smaller groups playing together: We have divided the orchestra into two small groups, each of which will rehearse and perform half of the material for each concert or recording.
  • Shorter rehearsals: Each mini-orchestra will rehearse for 1 hour, with a half-hour break between groups to air the hall.
  • Mandatory masks: Anyone not using their face to play an instrument will wear a mask.
  • Ventilation and HEPA filters: We will open as many windows and doors as possible in our rehearsal hall, and have invested in four high-capacity HEPA filters to scrub the air in rehearsals. TOLive has installed UVC lights in all ventilation ducts at the Meridian Arts Centre, to clean the air of pathogens.
  • Physical distancing: All orchestra members are seated at least 6 feet apart.
  • Health tracking and contact tracing: Prior to rehearsal, all members must fill in a contact-tracing form.
  • Modified attendance requirements: We ask that anyone who has the slightest reason to believe they may be carrying any kind of illness stay home. If a member has had to miss rehearsals in order to keep other members safe, we will not penalize them, and we’ll assess their ability to perform on an individual basis.

Vaccination Policy

In order to promote a safer rehearsal and performance space as we continue to adapt to COVID-19, Orchestra Toronto has established a mandatory vaccination policy for all orchestra members, staff, and volunteers:

In order to be able to attend rehearsals, all members and staff will need to provide evidence of two doses of completed vaccinations prior to September 5, 2021, Vaccine appointments are now readily available and many pharmacies allow walk-ins. If any member or staff member has only received one dose by the first rehearsal, they are welcome to join two weeks after their second dose.

Members may be exempt from this Policy for religious or medical reasons. These exemptions will be in line with public health recommendations and local laws.

Those granted permanent or temporary medical exemptions must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test every week prior to rehearsal and wear face masks (e.g., N95s and surgical masks).  COVID-19 testing will be at their own expense.

Orchestra Toronto COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, August 2021

Performing Safely

We will assess the risks of any performance using Public Health guidelines and work closely with our venues to create the safest conditions possible. Our hosts at TOLive have outlined their safety protocol on their website. Orchestra Toronto makes the following commitments:

  • Select performances will be recorded and screened on-demand. We will notify subscribers and ticekt-holders and allow them to convert their tickets to on-demand tickets.
  • All in-person ticket-holders will receive access to any on-demand offering of the same performance for 30 days following the launch of the streamed version.
  • Anyone attending an Orchestra Toronto concert in any capacity will wear a mask.
  • To limit mingling, we will present shorter programmes with no intermissions. Instead, the hall doors will be kept open so that audiences can come and go quietly as needed.
  • We will communicate changes in programming or protocol as promptly and clearly as we can.
  • We will require any audience members to provide contact-tracing information and to comply with Provincial vaccination requirements.
  • We will promptly and unquestioningly refund ticket fees for any audience members who stay home in order to keep everyone safe. If you have to miss a performance as a result of illness or possible exposure, please contact the Box Office as soon as possible to arrange your refund.

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