Community awaits the doors to once again open and entertainment to fill the air
By Jillian Chandler
The doors are locked. The space is dark and empty. Where you once heard the sounds of friends and neighbors chatting and laughing, music playing and people performing, there remains silence.
Months after The Pearl Theater’s initial closure, a decision was made at the October 21 board meeting that the building would remain closed for the time being. Though they had hopes of renting the space out for private events, unfortunately, that idea was shuttered.
“After tonight's annual meeting and regular board meeting, the vote was to remain closed at this time for another month, and we will revisit the topic at our November board meeting,” shares Jessica Tingley, Pearl board member and treasurer. “We discussed the private rentals, but in the end, that vote failed to pass as well. Insurance comes largely into play in that there is no way to insure any event; the feeling was that we should not risk the liability.”
In addition, Jessica says, the board does not want to be in a position of having to enforce a mask mandate, which would have been a condition in order to move forward.
With Boundary County currently experiencing diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the triple digits, this presents a safety issue for The Pearl—which insurance will not cover. As the governor recently asked that people not meet in large groups, The Pearl Board feels they have a responsibility in protecting those in the community. “Safety remains our top priority,” Jessica says.
Additionally, they still don't have enough volunteers or willing board members to properly staff an event. Every single event that happens at The Pearl is a result of unpaid volunteers, and it can take up to 40 volunteer hours to make an event happen! “There is so much more that goes into staging an event than people realize,” says Jessica. A majority of their volunteers are older individuals who are retired or nearing retirement. Many of these folks either have their own health concerns or have a loved one whose health they don't want to compromise for the sake of entertainment. “I completely understand and respect that, even if it's painful for the absence of art that we are all missing so much right now,” Jessica shares.
“I feel 100 percent confident guaranteeing that The Pearl won't stay closed forever, and when we do reopen, it's going to be awesome and safe and fun for everyone,” she smiles.