Before coronavirus, going out for dinner and a movie was a healing process. And while streaming and takeout have helped, many Montrealers are looking forward to changing out of their sweatpants and sharing venues with other people for a change. They’ll be able to do that on June 22 when theatres and cinemas are allowed to reopen in Quebec.

That’s also the date city residents will be allowed to head out to their favourite Montreal restaurants for the first time in months.

The theatre experience won't be the same as before, however. 

Indoor gatherings are being limited to 50 people or fewer, provided everyone stays two-metres apart from each other while standing or moving through common areas.

However, for venues where people simply sit and watch without engaging with one another, officials have reduced the required physical distance to 1.5 metres.

The province’s workplace health and safety board (CNESST) has released a new set of rules that outline the changes different places have to make to keep everyone safe and healthy.

According to CNESST, venues should have one-way foot traffic to prevent people from crossing paths and the opening times for shows may be adjusted to minimize contact between spectators.

Food counters at the theatre are to be reorganized and physical barriers are to be erected to ensure physical distancing.

Common areas will be regularly cleaned daily and floor markings will ensure physical distancing.

Signage is to be installed reminding people of the importance of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and physical distancing.

Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and faucets are to be cleaned every worker's shift.

And of course, if a spectator believes they have symptoms of COVID-19, they have an obligation not to attend the event.

There are also a number of new rules for performers and workers.

All employees should be allowed in the building on alternating shifts to minimize contact with other people.

Equipment, such as microphones or musical instruments must be cleaned after every use.

Stage crews are being asked to wash their hands frequently and makeup artists will have to use an individual makeup bag for each individual performer. 

Singers and musicians who must blow into a wind instrument, such as a flute or bassoon, must keep a distance of at least two metres from other people or stand behind a partition.

In addition, shows that call for performers to get handsy with each other are being discouraged unless proper protective equipment is worn. 

There are even special measures for circus performers including acrobats and trapeze artists who will have to wash their hands before and after using their equipment if it cannot be cleaned.

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