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Canada to host ‘first major event using rapid screening’

The Ontario Festival Industry Taskforce (OFIT) is spearheading the organisation of a concert that is said to be the first major event in Canada to use rapid screening.

The event, dubbed The Long Road Back, is due to take place this month at the Casino Lac-Leamy Plaza at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, with a performance from local Motown tribute band, The Commotions.

Attendance will be limited to 100 participants, and all spectators as well as staff, musicians and crew must prove they’ve tested negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours before the band performs.

Once at the event, attendees will be seated at tables and will be required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing throughout the event.

According to the organisers, tickets – which were priced at CA$25 and could only be purchased in groups of four – sold out in under an hour.

“As we look ahead to the summer of 2021 and beyond, establishing best practices for live music events now is critical”

“As we look ahead to the summer of 2021 and beyond, establishing best practices for live music events now is critical,” says OFIT chair Mark Monahan. “In order to produce summer and fall events, rapid Covid-19 antigen screening is needed to demonstrate live concerts can happen safely.”

The concert was originally slated for 27 March but has now been postponed after the city’s chief medical officer of health said the city will likely limit outdoor public gatherings to 25 people next week.

The organisers say the event will be rescheduled “for the earliest possible date” should restrictions be tightened.

The concert is produced in conjunction with local promoter Live DNA, the team behind Ottawa Bluesfest, the Canadian Live Music Association, Ottawa Festivals Network, and the National Arts Centre. The organisers are producing the event under the guidance of Rapid Test & Trace Canada.


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