Note: The PM&L Board of Directors adopted this policy prior to the announcement of Governor Pritzker’s updated masking mandate on August 26, 2021. We will continue to evaluate the changing mandates and update this policy as needed.
While we are very excited to welcome you back to PM&L Theatre, we think it is essential to inform you of the policies we’ve adopted for our reopening. Though it is but one of many measures, the focal point is a masking requirement for all patrons regardless of their vaccination status.
We recognize the issues surrounding COVID-19 precautions have been needlessly embroiled in politics for more than a year now. We think you must know that PM&L is not a political organization, nor have we taken action with any particular political point of view in mind – our sole concerns are the health, safety, and wellbeing of our patrons and staff. Instead, we reflected on the following circumstances:
- The size of our facility — we have long taken pride in the intimacy afforded by our historic building. However, that intimacy has vastly different consequences in light of a pandemic. We simply would not be able to operate at significantly reduced capacity and maintain our budget as one of the few community theatres in the country that owns our facility.
- The demographics of our patrons — we’re proud of the long history many of our patrons have supported us. However, it’s clear that many of our patrons are within groups that are highly at-risk for severe health consequences associated with COVID-19.
- Continually evolving guidance — in response to the evolving nature of the pandemic, guidance from federal, state, and local authorities have evolved as well. While we formed a committee, in part made up of health professionals, to monitor these evolving situations, it is clear the response to the pandemic evolves quickly and with little warning or anticipation of changes.
- Masking reduces the spread — much has been written, talked about, and theorized regarding the efficacy of masking concerning protection from COVID-19. What is clear is that masking helps prevent the spread of the virus in all individuals. While it is undoubtedly an inconvenience, we believe it is one worth accepting to do our part to protect our patrons and staff.
In light of these facts, and with an abundance of caution, we determined that a masking requirement for all individuals while within our facility was necessary. In establishing this policy, we rely on our patrons’ judgment and goodwill to help make it a reality. Very few staff members are paid, almost all are volunteers with a love of theatre and our community, and we do not relish tasking them with enforcing any policy. We ask for your patience, understanding, and observance of our policies while inside of our building.
Safety Requirements in Detail
In detail, we have adopted the following policies:
- All patrons are required to wear a mask, regardless of immunization status, while inside our building. Those entering our facility will be asked to wear a mask, and those who do not have one will be provided with one free of charge.
- This requirement applies to all areas of the building and during the performance.
- Our concessions will be open, but the nature and availability of concessions may change as circumstances change in light of the pandemic.
- Similar to restaurants, patrons may remove their masks for the consumption of concessions. Still, we ask that all patrons maintain social distancing from those not within their household while doing so. We ask that all patrons only remove their masks while actively consuming food or drinks and return to wearing them if not doing so.
- We ask that all patrons maintain social distancing from those not in their household wherever possible while inside our building for everyone’s comfort and safety.
We are offering any patron who is not comfortable attending a performance they have purchased tickets for or the policies we have adopted a full refund for their tickets — no questions asked.
Doing Our Part
In the months we have been closed, we’ve embarked on several improvements to our facility to help do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- We’ve introduced air filtration and handling to our facility in the form of air purification added to our air handling units and augmented that capability with standalone units in our high-traffic areas.
- We’ve adopted a sanitation policy throughout the building and hired professional staff for the regular cleaning and sanitation of our facilities.
- We’ve introduced contactless payment and check-in methods at the box office and concessions to avoid the unnecessary handling of money and tickets.
- All programs will be available online for download, so those who do not wish to handle a physical program may still enjoy the benefits programs add to the enjoyment of our performances.
- We’ve been forced to discontinue providing communal services such as complimentary coffee and water fountains to reduce the touchpoints associated with these services. We’ve replaced our water fountains with the capability to fill individual containers for all of our patrons touchlessly.
Monitoring & Modifications
As we stated, the situation and effects of the pandemic continue to change regularly. We will continue to monitor the status and make adjustments to this policy as needed to best address the evolving situation. Again, we ask for your patience and understanding during these very challenging and fluctuating times.
We Owe PM&L to You
We can’t thank you enough for your support of PM&L. If you have determined that now is not the time for you to return, we understand entirely and look forward to welcoming you back when you feel comfortable. We will continue to do our utmost to safeguard the health of our patrons and staff during these challenging times. We think everyone needs the arts now, more than ever, to remind us of the joys of life and living. We know we’ll get through this together, and we look forward to continuing that journey with you.