On 19 and 20 December, we heard that corona virus infection numbers in various parts of the country were rising dangerously, with the Health Secretary saying that the new variant, B.1.1.7 is “out of control” in some places. Given the uncertainty around this, we decided to postpone the gig that was due to happen on 20 December to 10 January, in the hope that it would become clearer in the following week about how much this new variant increases the risk of having public events at the Arts Centre.
In the last seven days, it hasn’t become any clearer. Also, the ambient temperature outside has decreased, so holding events where the windows and doors are open, as is necessary for good ventilation is becoming more uncomfortable for both performers and audience, even with all the available heating on.
So, today, the Arts Centre board has decided to close the centre for public events, and to review this decision during the next two weeks. We don’t want something at the Arts Centre to be responsible for spreading the coronavirus in our town, and feel that this is the prudent decision to make right now.
For me the two most important conditions necessary for live events with an audience happening at the Arts Centre have always been:
1. That the level of infection in our area is (as far as we can tell) very low;
2. That we’re able to ventilate the building extremely well, as with windows and doors open, there’s a very good airflow.
As things are right now, both of these are compromised.
Any events affected by this decision will be postponed to a new date: anyone who’s already booked will be able to either hang on to their ticket(s) for the new date, or get a refund from WeGotTickets.com.
I hope we’ll be able to announce the next moves as soon as possible, and that we can soon get back to welcoming audiences back into the building.
Arts Director, Ashburton Arts Centre