The decision that the Hale Centre Theatre has made to open their 911-seat theater this week for their production of Mary Poppins, seems to me to be based more on greed than concern for their patrons, staff, and actors. A 70% favorable patron survey was apparently an incentive for their reopening.
As stated in the recent Tribute article, “patrons will be seated shoulder-to-shoulder, as long as regular face masks are used.” But I’m wondering how the Hale staff will accommodate refreshing restrooms, wiping down doors and handrails, not to mention cleaning and sanitizing hundreds of seats, considering that there are as many as three performances of the show each day.
With Broadway theaters shut down until January 2021, and hundreds orchestras, ballet companies, touring companies and other performance arts organizations closed or furloughed for months into the future, Hale is showing amazing hubris in opening Utah’s least friendly social distancing venue during the largest spread of COVID-19 in the state.
If I were a Hale patron, I would be saying “Hale, no!”
Will Hodges, Millcreek