The show will go on at Tauranga‘s Baycourt

Baycourt manager James Wilson. Supplied photo.

After months of waiting in the wings Baycourt Community & Arts Centre is overjoyed to announce the first phase of its reopening starts next week

With Aotearoa now at COVID Alert Level 1, Baycourt can begin progressively reopening aspects of the award-winning Tauranga venue, starting with its box office which initially will open Mondays to Fridays only, 10am to 4pm, from June 15.

Following this, the first live event to be hosted at Baycourt since New Zealand went into lockdown back in March will be Tauranga Musica and Pure Print’s concert The Kugels which is onstage in the X Space on Sunday, June 21.

“It’s a bit surreal to think the Baycourt box office will reopen exactly 82 days after New Zealand went into lockdown, and that our stages would have been dark just shy of three months by the time The Kugels concert rolls around on June 21,” says Baycourt manager James Wilson.

“To say we have missed hosting our Tauranga Moana community at Baycourt is a massive understatement. People are the heart and soul of Baycourt, and we simply cannot wait to welcome everyone back soon.”

Based on results of an online survey conducted in May, there is also a huge desire amongst many in the community for Baycourt to reopen and get back to the business of hosting high-quality live events again.

The survey aimed to give the Baycourt leadership team an insight into how the community was feeling about returning to venue, as well as provide people with an opportunity to share any concerns they may have about coming back.

More than 400 people completed the survey, with an overwhelming 81 per cent of respondents saying that when Baycourt eventually reopens they had no concerns about returning to the venue for live events.

Of the 19 per cent of respondents who said they did have concerns, the most common themes related to hygiene practices of audience members and staff, cleaning of high traffic areas and touch points, the ability for people to maintain social distancing, and the possibility of people visiting Baycourt when they are sick.

“Thank you to everyone who shared their concerns with Baycourt, your answers are invaluable and will help us greatly to achieve our goal of providing a safe and welcoming environment the next time you come visit us.

“Also, please know that during Level 2 the Baycourt staff worked hard behind the scenes to introduce a range of new measures designed to ensure everyone’s safety.”

These range of measures include installing new sanitising stations, instituting contactless payment and ticket entry to the venue, plus increasing the frequency of cleaning, especially in high traffic areas.

It's also important to note that if people have any concerns while visiting Baycourt to make sure they speak to one of the front of house staff who are always available to help during events, says James.

While there are no Government restrictions on public venues or mass gatherings at Level 1, Baycourt will be adopting a new voluntary code of compliance, dubbed the COVID Code, that was developed in partnership by numerous event industry representative bodies specifically for the Aotearoa event sector.

“By adopting this code we’re saying to our Tauranga Moana community that we will stay up to date with Ministry of Health guidance on the response to COVID-19, implement best practice to maintain a high standard of hygiene, and will enable our visitors to maintain their own record for the purposes of contact tracing.”

The COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc on Baycourt’s events diary, with many local, national and international companies and groups being forced to either postpone or cancel their shows.

But all is not as grim as first thought and with the number of enquiries and bookings fielded by Baycourt increasing significantly following the move to Level 1, the immediate future is already beginning to look quite promising, says James..

“More and more shows are being added as the days pass, so while it may take a while for our What’s On calendar to return to the level that a lot of people accustomed to, it won’t be for forever! So please keep a close eye on the Baycourt website and our social media pages for up-to-date show information.

“On behalf of Baycourt I also thank our Tauranga Moana community for the support you’ve shown us during the lock down, and for your collective efforts in the fight against COVID. We are at Level 1 because of your sacrifices and your ability to stay strong in the face of adversity – what we have accomplished together is a massive feat.”

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