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Connecticut Eases Restrictions, Allowing Theaters to Open at 50% Capacity

However, not all venues will be able to reopen quickly, such as the Hartford Stage and TheaterWorks.

Connecticut Eases Restrictions, Allowing Theaters to Open at 50% Capacity

Connecticut arts venues are beginning to see a bit of reprieve, as restrictions have been loosened, allowing venues to hold 50% capacity as of Wednesday. Concessions are also now allowed to be sold.

However, according to the Hartford Courant, not all venues will be able to reopen quickly.

"Even with the changes, we think it will be another couple of months before we're ready to open," said Tyler Grill, CEO of GoodWorks entertainment, which owns the Infinity Hall concert halls in Hartford and Norfolk. "A lot has to happen first. You have to book the artists, sell tickets, rehire staff."

"There are still other struggles, like travel bans and quarantines," Grill said. "A lot of artists we have on our books, the reason they're postponing tours is because they need to be able to book shows across the country. So our focus will be on regional acts for now."

Governor Ned Lamont also recently made the announcement that larger, private events such as weddings will be able to go on beginning in March.

"I'm feeling more and more confident - cautiously confident - that we can continue to cautiously reopen," Lamont said Tuesday. "We're going to keep the masks on and hopefully warmer weather, the end of the flu season and vaccinations are going to put us in a much better spot a month from now."

But even with the relaxed state guidelines, many theaters still face significant obstacles. Hartford Stage still expects to return to live performances in the fall, while TheaterWorks has been producing shows monthly online and will adapt back to live performance when possible.

Hartford Stage released a statement, saying it "is pleased that public health metrics continue to improve, and that the Governor is allowing performing arts venues to reopen if they can operate at 50% capacity with social distancing. Given the size of our theater, six feet of social distancing would put us at only 16% capacity, so we are not able to consider reopening at this time. We are looking toward the Fall for our theater to be able to open safely. We encourage the public to attend and support venues that are reopening, as well as continue social distancing, mask wearing, and getting vaccinated. The success of these reopenings and continued improvements in public health will make it possible for Hartford Stage to open fully in the future."

Read more on Hartford Courant.


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