Downtown Fort Myers theater requiring patrons test negative or show vaccine proof

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Audience member seats inside Florida Repertory Theatre in downtown Fort Myers. Credit: WINK News.

Some businesses are changing their coronavirus protocols by requiring a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination.

The Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Myers closed its doors in March of 2020. It’s among places requiring a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination proof for the time being.

“We’ve been really looking forward to being able to open,” said Greg Longenhagen, the artistic director of Florida Repertory Theatre.

But finding a safe way of getting people back in seats has been a challenge.

“Finally, we found a way to do that as pretty much I would say as safely as we possibly can,” Longenhagen said.

For patrons, Florida Rep decided that’s requiring masks and a negative COVID-19 test or proof of a vaccine.

“We’re following CDC guidelines; we’re following Florida Department of Health guidelines, and we’re following the Actor’s Equity Association guidelines,” Longenhagen said.

We spoke with two legal experts who told us the theater is not breaking any state laws with the requirement options, but some people don’t see it that way.

Longenhagen says the theater plans on relaxing the requirements as soon as they’re able to.

“There’s no way we’re going to please everyone,” Longenhagen said. “We knew that this was going to, you know, cause some people to call in and say, ‘Hey, you’re not doing enough, or that’s a little overreaching.’ So, we understand that. We respect everyone’s views on all of that. We’re hoping that we can, through all of this stuff as quickly as possible, return to some normalcy in the theater.”

Longenhagen also told us they’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the community about their new safety protocols.

Visit the Florida Repertory Theatre website for more information about the upcoming performance season beginning later in September.

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