The Toronto Film Festival has issued a demand that Hollywood stars attending its upcoming 2022 edition to launch their latest movies in-person must mask up at all theaters and affiliated venues, except when on stage or strutting up red carpets.
“Talent will be required to wear a mask at all times at TIFF Festival venues and TIFF-provided vehicles. The only exceptions include when talent are on the red carpet and on stage,” the festival said as it unveiled its COVID-19 protocols for talent, rights holders, press and industry for its upcoming September 9 to 18 edition.
The strict COVID protocols follow a decision by Toronto fest organizers to hold a portion of their event in-person. “Canada is one of the safest places to visit, with the lowest case incidence in the western hemisphere,” TIFF said in a statement as it pointed to a successful vaccine rollout countrywide amid a summer lull in COVID infection rates.
The 2021 Toronto Film Festival will effectively resemble last year’s hybrid event, with limited in-person film screenings. Last year TIFF first introduced its digital screening platform to comply with safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, Toronto organizers aim with mask-wearing, social distancing and COVID testing to get more Americans and other international filmmakers, media and other industry attendees to the Canadian festival for its upcoming Sept. 9 to 18 run than were available last year when a highly-restricted hybrid edition was staged amid the pandemic in September 2020.
The city of Toronto has seen a recent sharp decline in COVID infections during the summer months after a successful Canadian vaccination program. But the rising threat of the Delta variant has local politicians and health officials looking to stem a fourth wave virus infections expected in the Fall.