Frustrated artists everywhere right now are asking themselves two questions: “When will stay-at-home orders end and when will I be able to play live again?” While the Ontario government does not specifically address musicians and gigs on its official COVID-19 information page, the government has said the following: Stay-at-home orders may end in Guelph, Wellington, Waterloo, and Halton regions on Feb. 16th, 2021.
Allowances after that depend on what color designation a region falls under based on the COVID-19 Response Framework (and the Feb. 16th date not being extended, naturally).
Green, Yellow and Orange Designation
- Under organized public events and social gatherings: For “organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained,” 50 people are permitted indoors and 100 people outdoors.
- Under restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments: “Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions.”
- Under organized public events and social gatherings: For “organized public events and social gatherings,” 5 people are permitted indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Under restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments: “Dancing, singing and the live performance of music is prohibited.”
Under Grey lockdown conditions, live performance is off the table, and stay-at-home orders remain in effect. However, under Ontario Regulation 82/20 (Performing Arts Facilities), recording and rehearsal are permitted within facilities where both performers and employees maintain physical distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols.
All preceding color designations include observance of public health and safety protocols like physical distancing and personal protective equipment.
Important Things to Keep in Mind
- The government stresses that Feb. 16th is currently a projected date, and until a region returns to the COVID-19 Response Framework and has a color designation, current restrictions and stay-at-home orders remain in effect.
- Given the inherent vagueness of the government’s wording, artists should thoroughly check with any live music venue or establishment before planning any future gig, meaning the preceding should not be taken as legal advice.
For updates to restrictions and stay-at-home orders as they happen in Guelph, Wellington, Waterloo, and Dufferin regions, visit (or bookmark) the Ontario government’s COVID-19 Health and Restrictions page.