Livermore Arts will require ticket holders to events at the Bankhead Theater to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear a mask while inside, beginning Oct. 1. For children under 12, a three-question questionnaire will be required for entry.
"Our No. 1 priority is to share the arts safely with the Tri-Valley community," said Denise Watkins, chairwoman of the Livermore Arts Board of Directors. "The staff at the Bankhead Theater has been working tirelessly to create a safe environment for everyone including artists, crew, staff, patrons and volunteers.
"We want to continue providing live entertainment while adopting efforts to stop the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of our community," she added.
"Everyone plays an important part, not just on stage, but in the audience."
The decision to require vaccination and mask wearing for all indoor performances is the outcome of a "listening campaign" with performers, patrons, staff and volunteers.
"Livermore Arts accepts the responsibility of not only keeping our community safe and stopping the spread of the virus, but also returning to a sense of normalcy," Executive Director Chris Carter said.
"Bringing live performances to the Bankhead Theater is part of what makes living in the Tri-Valley such a special place," he continued. "It is incumbent upon us to make sure we institute multiple layers of safety protocols to ensure that we are able to continue to bring live music, theater, dance, opera and comedy back to Livermore and the surrounding areas.
"It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to stop the spread and prevent another economic shutdown."
Carter noted that Livermore Arts also requires staff and volunteers to be vaccinated or provide negative COVID tests on a regular basis, plus wear masks.
"In addition, our HVAC system in the theater exchanges the air 9.2 times each hour," he explained. "That means there is new air in the theater every 6.5 minutes. We have also upgraded our HVAC system to use high-quality MERV-13 filters, designed to trap very fine particles, potential allergens, bacteria and viruses.
"High-touch areas are cleaned with a thorough cleaning before and after every performance. All seats, armrests, and handrails are cleaned after each performance using an electrostatic sprayer, the same sprayer used in hospitals and schools to clean and kill COVID-19 on surfaces."
Two resident companies of the Bankhead Theater -- Livermore-Amador Symphony and Livermore Valley Opera -- supported the decision to require proof of vaccination.
"LAS recently instituted its own vaccine requirement for all participating musicians, in addition to closely adhering to all current Alameda County health mandates," conductor Lara Webber said.
"These mandates will allow us to safely return to the stage and enrich the lives of our community," said Erie Mill, artistic director at Livermore Valley Opera.
Students and visitors at the Bothwell Arts Center ages 12 and over will also be required to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask. The Bankhead Theater, together with the Bothwell Arts Center, is home to eight resident performing arts companies and more than 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors.