A Call to Action for Safe Re-Opening

Toronto Arts Council advocates for a SAFE return of audiences to concerts, theatre, galleries, and events

Toronto, August 12, 2021 - As the city's primary arts funder, Toronto Arts Council has worked with stakeholders and conducted research to understand the devastating impact of the pandemic on Toronto’s artists, arts workers, and arts organizations. It is clear that this sector has been one of the hardest hit. Since March 2020 venues have been shuttered, artists thrown out of work and well over $100 million lost in ticket sales in Toronto alone.

It is time now to bring forward solutions. Toronto Arts Council voices its support for the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s COVID Safe Pass proposal. Through this innovative solution, audiences will have the security of knowing that fellow patrons are either fully vaccinated or have passed a recent COVID test.

“We are at a tipping point – will we forge ahead with progress, as other cities and jurisdictions are doing, or slide back into lockdown?” asks Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO of Toronto Arts Council. “Vaccinations and testing offer the promise of a return to an economically vibrant and safe future. We need to bring back the joy and community connections that the arts offer.” 

Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Chair of Economic and Community Development, comments: "Canada has made excellent progress in its efforts to restore public safety through its COVID vaccination program. But COVID is not expected to go away soon, and we must take whatever sensible measures we can to reopen the public realm without prolonging the pandemic. Vaccine passports are an effective and reasonable way to ensure that people can participate safely in arts, culture and other activities with minimal risk to themselves and those around them."

Long before the pandemic, Toronto residents expressed their belief that the arts make Toronto a better place to live. Today even more have experienced the essential value of the arts in the midst of pandemic isolation. Toronto’s artists and arts organizations pivoted to offer support to Toronto residents throughout the worst of the COVID crisis with virtual performances, balcony concerts and drive-in exhibitions becoming the order of the day. Toronto’s artists are ready to support our community once again, ready to engage the public in safe performances and encourage public confidence in reopening plans.

To do this, Toronto’s arts organizations must be able to assure their patrons of safety.

TAC endorses the Safe Pass as the effective, responsible, solution to:

  • Prevent a devastating 4th wave lockdown
  • Ensure theatres, concert halls and galleries remain open
  •  Allow tourists to return
  • Keep our city open

Toronto Arts Council, throughout the pandemic, has offered information and services to the arts community to help artists navigate challenges and opportunities. Partnering with the City of Toronto, TAPA and Ryerson University, TAC is helping to develop reasonable practices for opening through the #Lights-On Venue Re-Opening Guide. The addition of the COVID Safe Pass offers much needed support.

For information, please contact Susan Wright, Deputy Director:

416-392-6802 x 211 | susan@torontoartscouncil.org