There are copious stories in the New York Times and The Atlanta Monthly calling for the end to “hygiene theater,” that is the fake, fruitless, labor intensive, time-and-money consuming practice of keeping our shared public spaces scrupulously clean. Even the Centers for Disease Control is emphasizing that COVID-19 is spread is primarily through respiratory means — through breathing, sneezing, coughing — and not by touching “contaminated surfaces.” That is good to know, and yes, at artsmeme, we ‘follow the science.’
This notwithstanding, similar to the restaurant sector, our theater administrations are knocking themselves out to render themselves sanitary and comfortable for our return visits. I was impressed by this communication from the mighty Segerstrom Center for the Arts that demonstrates the efforts Segerstrom is going to, to the point of forging a consulting relationship with the UCI Health Infectious Disease experts at University of California/Irvine campus located (by California distances) very near to the Center.
As many artsmeme-ites are contemplating their return to theaters, I don’t think many would object to a continuation of these practices. Cleaning the physical plant so that audience members see evidence of a tended-to environment, at the very least, will spark a reminder, an important one, for audiences to keep up compliance on their end of the bargain: by wearing the face mask and social distancing. It’s all of one thread, and I applaud the commitment to “hygiene theater” described by Segerstrom here:
Other Southern California theaters are on top of their COVID conventions, as well, but not as rigorously as Segerstrom. Segserstrom, however, has two houses, both bigger than these others: Here’s The Soraya. Here’s the Broad Stage. Here’s The Wallis.
I would add that I have been in a few movie theaters and find the clean restrooms and socially distanced seating very refreshing, and relaxing. Support your local theaters, and consider starting with the movies.
Beyond these measures, it’s a relief to read that all of these SoCal theaters are requiring vaccination and masking. Some state governments are not allowing venues to take these safety precautions.