Preparations for potential Corn Hall restart
The operations manager of The Corn Hall in Diss has given an update this week about the venue, volunteers and staff during lockdown.
Lee Johnson said his team had been busy behind the scenes since shutting its doors on March 20, to make sure the St Nicholas Street site was ready for any possible date of reopening.
He said: “Before closing I instigated a much higher and stricter cleaning regime over and above the high standards we already had in place.
“I have ordered Perspex screens for use at the box office and café, we have purchased hand sanitiser stations to go around the building and had the tape measure out, ensuring that the auditorium is Covid-19 compliant as well.”
With the current two-metre distancing rules in place though, the seating capacity is significantly reduced, from 300 down to 60.
But Mr Johnson said if the rules were relaxed to one and a half metres, that could add another 30 seats.
He said: “We have been listening to and reading advice from the government daily and also speaking with volunteers on what will make them feel safe in The Corn Hall.
“We are working towards the café being open again on Monday, July 6, and lots of work has been happening to make sure that we get there, but until we hear confirmation that we can actually fully reopen, that is what we are aiming for.”
Programme manager, Angela Sykes, has also been rescheduling performances, which were set to take place before the pandemic, to different dates. Pre-booked tickets will be valid for those.
Mr Johnson said that this was not how he envisaged the venue’s 10th year to go but knows with the continued help of its dedicated team of volunteers and supporters it will not be its last milestone.
He said: “It is fair to say that with the support of all our volunteers, customers and the board of trustees, The Corn Hall will be back.
“It will look a little different when we open the doors for the first time again, but as the saying goes, ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’. We will come back bigger and stronger than before and we will be celebrating our 20th birthday in 2030.”