The BC Provincial Health Order has mis-categorized cinemas and professional performing arts venues as ‘events’. This has led to a catastrophic effect on the arts and culture sectors during times of crisis. Due to the incorrect segmentation of this industry, both movie theatre and live performance venues are unfairly shuttered.

Background

In 2020, COVID-19 rapidly spread around the globe, creating a catastrophe that is unprecedented in living memory. In addition to the health crisis, COVID-19 created an economic crisis which caused, and continues to cause, many businesses to close or reduce their operations. A recent report from the Canadian Association of the Performing Arts: Association Canadienne Des Organismes Artistiques (CAPACOA) also places arts, entertainment and recreation as the sector that is furthest away from recovery on a national level, six percent below tourism.1

Cinemas and Professional Performing Arts Venues have found a way to utilize their services to help. Studies have shown that attending Performing Arts venues help alleviate mental health pressures.2 These industries must be allowed to remain safely open; following recommended guidelines for patrons to attend.

Despite more than one million Canadians visiting movie theatres in the first and second waves of the pandemic, the Movie Theatre Association of Canada claims that there have been zero reported instances of transmission or outbreaks associated.3 In fact, researchers have found that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is far lower in theaters than in supermarkets, restaurants, offices, or public transportation.4

THE CHAMBER RECOMMENDS

That the Provincial Government:

  1. Work together with a created task force to assess the industry’s operations with the intent to change the designation of Cinemas and Professional Performing Arts Venues within the Provincial Health Order from “events” to “businesses”.
  2. For the created task force to fast track a communication strategy with all stakeholders to ensure the future financial viability of the Performing Arts Sector.

1 “Employment in Arts and Culture Industries, December 2020.” CAPACOA, January 12, 2021. https://capacoa.ca/en/2021/01/employment-in-arts-and-culture-december-2020/.

2 “How Watching Movies Can Help Your Mental Health.” The Best Brain Possible, November 24, 2018, https://thebestbrainpossible.com/movie-help-mental-health-therapy/.

3Patrick von Sychowski, “CJ Analysis: The Number of COVID-19 Outbreaks Traced to Cinemas is Zero”, last modified October 19, 2020. https://celluloidjunkie.com/2020/10/19/cj-analysis-the-number-of-covid-19-outbreaks-traced-to-cinemas-is-zero/.

4 Hakim Bishara, “Museums Are Safer Than Any Other Indoor Activity, COVID-19 Study Says,” last modified February 24, 2021, https://hyperallergic.com/623971/museums-are-safer-than-any-other-indoor-activity-covid-19-study-says/?fbclid=IwAR0cUP- y80taELT0QcmUIVBb2dCMMU0Tpo1yZm7OnE3SmfPFQ7EcvX1DU4I.