Some Nova Scotia theaters choose to keep COVID-19 face masks as a requirement

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Nova Scotia and restrictions lifting, not everyone thinks now is a good time to permanently remove masks.

In fact, to enter the Savoy Theater in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, wearing a face covering is still mandatory.

“We are a large hall, so there is a large gathering limit. It really is the first time in two years that everything is wide open,” said Pam Leader, executive director of the Savoy Theatre.

The fear is that the virus will spread quickly inside the maskless 800-seat theater, and postponing or canceling shows is not something Leader plans to do.

“To be completely honest, given that this is the first time we’ve really opened in two years, we want to stay open,” she said. “So we’re going to do everything in our power to stay open without having anything else close us.”

In Halifax, the Neptune Theater is also asking patrons to mask up.

Just down the street at the Carbon Arc Cinema, screenings remain half full to accommodate socially distant audiences, who are also encouraged to wear a mask.

Public health’s approach to monitoring the pandemic has changed as the province enters a transition phase, according to the province’s chief medical officer of health.

“Public health advice and my advice is that people can go outside, but choose wisely and follow precautions carefully,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

It’s been just over two weeks since the province lifted most public health restrictions. Since then, COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed, but Strang is reluctant to reinstate any public health mandate.

At the Highland Arts Theater in Sydney, Nova Scotia, it will be up to everyone to decide whether or not to wear a face covering.

“People have lots of reasons why it might not be appropriate or they might not be contagious at this point. We don’t want to get into policing at this point,” said theater manager Wesley Colford.

Back in Glace Bay, Leader says the general public response to keeping masks inside the facility has been positive.

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