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Winnipesaukee Playhouse reopening with guidelines


September 10, 2020
MEREDITH — The show will go on at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, which is doing performances again with a number of new pandemic-related policies.

The playhouse has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, but reopened on Sept. 2 for its fall professional season with the opening of its recent production "Or."

"We are excited to once again welcome you to the Winnipesaukee Playhouse," the organization announced on its Web site. "We have put in place strict regulations in accordance with or exceeding CDC and State of New Hampshire guidelines in order to provide the safest experience possible. We are asking you to partner with us to ensure that our patrons, staff, and performers stay healthy."

"Or" will run through Saturday, Sept. 12 with performances starting at 4 p.m. The next show will be "The Mountaintop" on Sept. 16-20 and Sept 23-26 in the outdoor amphitheater. "No Wake" will run inside the theater from Sept. 30-Oct 3. and Oct. 7-12.

The Winni Playhouse said all its new policies are part of state guidelines for performing arts venues, and the theater is legally required to enforce them.

Tickets are only available by calling the box office to ensure social distancing in seating and tickets will be emailed. Visitors can print their tickets or display them electronically on arrival.

The playhouse has suspended its no refund policy through its first three shows after reopening. People who aren't feeling well or are uncomfortable with coming can get a refund if they call before the performance starts. The theater is offering the option of a full refund, an exchange, or converting their tickets into a tax deductible donation.

Visitors will be asked to wear a face covering at all times while in the building, including during the performance. Masks will be provided for those who don't have one.

Before being seated attendees will have their temperature taken by a no-contact thermometer and will be asked a series of questions related to symptoms, travel, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Those who answer yes to any of the questions will not be seated. People are asked to only sit in their designated seat.

Performers will not be wearing masks and will be appropriately distanced from the first row

Concessions will be available on the outside deck and face coverings can be removed in these areas while socially distanced.

When the theater offers outdoor performances, the lobby will only be accessible for restrooms.

Each performance will be around an hour and a half to two hours in length and there will be no intermissions.

At the end of each show the audience will exit one row at a time at staff direction and won't be able to meet the performers after the show.

Anyone who doesn't comply with the rules when arriving or during the performance will be refused service.

All surfaces in the restrooms, lobby, and performance space will be sanitized before each show. Germicidal lamps and polarized media filters will be added to the air conditioning ducts to clean the theater's air.

"While all reasonable precautions are being made to keep patrons and staff safe, please note that each patron is attending at their own risk," the theater stated. "If you are part of a population vulnerable to COVID-19, or live with someone who is, we recommend not attending our performances."

To order tickets call 279-0333. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from noon-8 p.m. or leave a message and someone will call back as soon as possible.

For more information and updates on the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, coming shows, and its COVID-19 protocols visit www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org.

Martin Lord Osman
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