I love September. I love the refreshing change of the seasons with many blue skies and cool breezes, the overwhelming amount of gifted zucchini, the excitement of the first days and weeks of school, and the great number of birthdays in my family this month. We eat a lot of cake at my house in September, marking so many transitions.
I know September is always about change, but this year September’s sense of change is on overdrive because of COVID-19. It is in our conduct at school, and how we celebrate birthdays, and, among other things, how we welcome you to The Civic Theatre this fall.
First, the very good news: We are open! We have all sorts of films on now and coming soon — veritably something for just about everyone. We continue with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings this week, and are looking forward to bringing you Venom, James Bond, Dune and much more in the weeks and months to come.
Following our charitable mandate, The Civic is also building back our capacity to program Canadian and international independent film. Even though our ability to show movies in our theatre has been greatly hampered over the last year by the pandemic, we have continued to develop and nurture our other programs and services, which will be unveiled as the 2021-22 year progresses. Please keep an eye out for new listings and announcements on our website, civictheatre.ca.
And then the complexities. Interior Health’s recent order complementing the provincial COVID-19 health order had a very specific extra guideline for theatres: If we want to open our venue to 50 per cent of our capacity, our patrons are required to be fully vaccinated now, as opposed to by Oct. 24 when this requirement comes into effect for most everyone else. Otherwise, if we only ask for partial vaccination at this time, our seating is capped at 50 seats, which makes it quite impossible for us to be open at all.
Accordingly, we have had to make the very complex communications decision to require full vaccination as of Sept. 24. As of that date, all patrons ages 12 and older will need to be fully vaccinated to see films at The Civic.
We know that this feels like a separate and different rule than is necessary in the restaurant where you might eat before the movie, or the bar you might go to afterwards, but it is what is required of us by the order. We hope everyone will be patient and understanding about this different standard to which we must adhere at The Civic. After such a long closure this year, we need the higher capacity to support our financial viability, and we just can’t afford to wait any longer.
And in the meantime, if you are not quite able to come back to the theatre for one reason or another, I urge you to visit Reo’s Video at 225 Hall St. to rent your next film — there are new releases in our collection every month, and plenty of classics, cult favourites, and international selections that you won’t find anywhere else, all waiting to be discovered (and DVD players for rent too).
Eleanor Stacey is the Executive Director of Nelson Civic Theatre Society, which runs The Civic Theatre and Reo’s Video.