Monday, the masks come off. So what does that mean for Toronto arts venues?

As Ontario ends its mask mandate, theatres and galleries have been left to enforce their own rules.

By Leah Collins

CBC Arts approached a variety of arts and entertainment venues around Toronto, asking what rules visitors should expect as of March 21. Many did not respond as of press time, but of those who did, several reported that they were still reviewing how best to proceed. That was the case at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum. At the Gardiner Museum, masking is voluntary for visitors as of Monday, though staff and clay class students will continue to wear face coverings through April 5. A rep for Cineplex said that masks will be optional at all their locations in Ontario starting Monday, though staff must still wear them.

If a venue chooses to set their own rules for admittance, that’s within their rights, says lawyer Cara Wribel, Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. “In general, private businesses can deny service to people as long as they’re not doing so on grounds of discrimination that are protected under human rights code,” she explains.

“There’s scope, I think, for people to challenge it. And I think the scope is broader than it was when there were government mandates in place.” But if a patron refuses to follow the rules of a venue, they can be turned away. 

Other provinces have had an early start tackling this particular challenge, though the approach has been much the same in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan — occasionally at the risk of blowback.

Source: CBC Opinion