As most forms of entertainment have gone virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prince George venues and groups have tried to come up with ways to allow residents to take in a show.
However, those efforts have been put on hold once again and indefinitely postponed as a result of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest provincial health orders from last Thursday (Nov. 19).
According to B.C.’s new virus safety restrictions, an event is defined as anything which gathers people together whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis.
This means all entertainment venues, shows and gatherings have been immediately suspended until the order formally ends at midnight on Dec. 7, to which Dr. Henry will make a decision on whether to extend, tighten, loosen or lift it based on the province progression with COVID-19.
Cineplex has confirmed to PrinceGeorgeMatters that, as of Monday night (Nov. 23), its Famous Players 6 Cinemas in the northern capital has temporarily closed.
Theatre NorthWest (TNW) has subsequently cancelled its productions for this coming weekend.
The organization has been hosted stage-readings during the pandemic as a way for residents to escape from the everyday struggles and give local actors and directors the chance to expand their talents.
“This pandemic is here. It's not going anywhere and we have to learn how to create art in a new way,” said TNW Executive Director Marnie Hamagami on Nov. 10 during a stage-reading preview.
“We have to learn how to go through the rehearsal process in a new way whereas before, we could just throw everything in a big pile on the floor and say, ‘Give us this play.’ Well, we can’t do that anymore.”
Hamagami has reiterated on numerous occasions that the health and safety of the community, artists, volunteers and staff is TNW’s most important focus during COVID-19.
It’s unclear at this point if TNW’s stage-reading of Miracle on 34th Street 9n December will be postponed or cancelled as it’ll have to wait if Dr. Henry continues to put the restrictions in place.
The orders have also put a damper on Method Dance Society as it was set to host its first show as a newly-implemented Prince George group on Thursday (Nov. 26).
Bodies in Isolation’s premiere is now pushed to January, the Society says, which also would’ve taken place at TNW.
All dance studios in Prince George have been ordered to suspend activity until Dec. 7.
As of this publication (Nov. 24), there have been 649 COVID-19 cases detected in Northern Health, which includes a record 153 active cases, six deaths, 18 people in hospital, nine of whom are in critical care, and 490 recoveries.