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DPAC: Expect to wear face masks for some early events

The curtains at Durham Performing Arts Center have remained closed for over year. When doors reopen next week, guests should expect that some early performances will require people to wear face masks.

Posted Updated

Sarah Krueger
Lora Lavigne, WRAL Durham reporters
DURHAM, N.C. — When doors reopen next week at Durham Performing Arts Center, guests should expect that some early performances will require people to wear face masks.

As of Friday, the DPAC updated its website to say that guests should expect that some early shows will require facemasks.

"It can still be expected though, that face covers will be required for some of the events in the early stages of DPAC’s reopening," the DPAC posted on its website.

No one from the facility was available Friday to answer WRAL News questions about the change.

The DPAC is owned by the City of Durham, which, starting Monday, will require masks inside all city-owned buildings regardless of vaccination status.

Mayor Steve Schewel said, "The Delta variant is forcing all of us to rethink masking orders very quickly. I'll be discussing this with the management of DPAC next week."

DPAC season-ticket holder Christopher Luke, said he plans to use his tickets to see "Tootsie" on Oct. 22.

"Whatever policy they need to put in place so that we can attend as many shows as possible is okay with me," he said. "We just have to be really willing to adjust on the fly.

"I can have a good time whether I have a mask on or not. I see and hear with my eyes and ears. Nothing about my nose and mouth affect me while I’m watching the show."

Others who commented on Facebook had similar sentiments.

"I'm tired of masks just like most everyone else," Amy Jones wrote. "But I've started wearing them again to places like the grocery store and would have worn one to DPAC shows even if they weren't required. Even those most people in the room are vaccinated, many probably have unvaccinated kids at home. Wearing a mask is such a small inconvenience to keep everyone's family safe."

As far as mask-wearing policies, DPAC officials told WRAL News earlier in the week that policies defer to the show that’s in-house that night. If that show requires masks, all audience members must wear them.

Patrons who purchase tickets will receive a ‘Know Before You Go’ email with all of the latest information prior to scheduled shows.

In March 2020, Durham Performing Arts Center closed its doors due to COVID-19.

“It almost had a bit of a somber feel and we’ve all just been in our minds waiting for this moment when life will breathe back into the theater,” DPAC Marketing and PR Manager Josette Roten said Tuesday.

DPAC officials said they followed the governor’s guidance as they mapped out a reopening plan.

When DPAC opens on Monday for a Squeeze concert, guests can expect contact-less options, hand sanitizing stations and air purification systems to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Bret Luter, who has tickets to that show told WRAL News, "Looking forward to it, and if masks are required, we will wear them."

“We have been monitoring the new variant closely, and we’re just gonna keep following the local and state guidance. We’ll go from there,” Roten said.

The theater will be welcoming guests back at 100 percent capacity, meaning up to 2,700 people could be seated inside.


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