Antrim and Newtownabbey Council outlines conditions for entry to threatres

Theatre goers in Antrim and Newtownabbey will be required to show proof of Covid vaccination as a new entry policy, it was agreed at a meeting of the Borough Council’s Community Planning Committee on Monday.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 5:28 pm

Customers will have the option of providing proof of a negative lateral flow test or evidence of proof of natural immunity from a positive PCR test within the previous six months.

The committee has also supported the re-opening of smaller venues for shows at the Courtyard Theatre, Ballyearl and The Old Courthouse Theatre, Antrim.

Ballyclare UUP Cllr Vera McWilliam proposed that councillors accept both recommendations seconded by committee Chair Antrim SDLP Cllr Roisin Lynch.

Currently, Newtownabbey’s Theatre at the Mill has a programme of shows planned until next spring. However apart from a film programme in The Old Courthouse, there is no programme for the borough’s two smaller theatres.

Theatre at the Mill has been delivering a show programme since August with a maximum audience capacity of 168 within a 400-seat auditorium to enable social distancing.

The Old Courthouse and the Courtyard Theatre are 188 and 180 seat auditoriums respectively and have remained “largely closed” as the required social distancing in these venues have been “cost prohibitive to operate”, the council says. Last month, the NI Executive agreed the legal requirement for social distancing should be removed at indoor seated venues such as theatres, concert halls and cinemas. However, the wearing of face coverings remains a legal requirement in these settings and must be worn in theatres whilst moving around communal spaces but are not required whilst seated.

Michelle Weir

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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Lateral flow test sites being scaled back across borough

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