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At The Theater

Liberty working on reopening plans

DAYTON–Mike Ferrians, Liberty Theater Manager, has recently resigned and the Touchet Valley Arts Council (TVAC) extend appreciation for all he has done for the theater, and hopes he will participate in future live productions.

The TVAC and staff have been working for several months trying to reopen the Liberty Theater. Many changes have been implemented at the theater to meet state mandated guidance to keep guests, staff, and volunteers as safe as possible, and allow us to legally reopen, and remain open, as a business.

Unfortunately, the process of making these safety changes has taken much longer than expected. In August, TVAC had set a target "soft opening" date of mid-October for free showings of the movie Hugo to benefit and celebrate our local communities.

However, that schedule became impractical as it has taken several months to examine options to maintain or improve air quality in the theater, and the portable air purifier that was ordered in early September has taken more than six weeks to arrive.

The planned "soft opening" movie showing is also intended for TVAC and staff to conduct a trial run with all the new procedures in place to see if further adjustments should be made to continue operating weekly. The delayed reopening is planned for before Thanksgiving week.

When the theater reopens, guests will be required to wear a mask, or other face covering, over their nose and mouth at all times in the theater, except when actively eating or drinking while in their seat. Social distancing must also be maintained. Therefore, the number of people in the theater auditorium and lobby will be limited, and generally only every other row of seats will be available, with at least three seats remaining empty between groups of guests, to maintain 6 feet of separation.

Seating arrangements with limited theater capacity (which is capped at about 30%) has to be balanced to allow as much of the public as possible to attend a showing, while maintaining social distancing. This is complicated by varying guest group sizes, and makes the process of guests selecting seats and buying tickets more complicated.

Options are still being considered to make seat selection and ticket buying as simple as possible, while maximizing theater capacity and maintaining required distancing. However, it is recommended that those interested in attending a movie should arrive well before the show start time so there is adequate time with this new process to get everyone seated and appropriately distanced on time.

TVAC would appreciate the public's patience as the new requirements and processes are implemented for the theater to reopen and operate as safely as possible. The Liberty Theater COVID policy is posted at

Submitted by Glen and Sharon Mendel