Ottawa concert, billed as blueprint for return of live shows, delayed by restrictions

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An Ottawa concert that was billed as a potential blueprint for the return of live performance in pandemic times will be postponed as the province tightens restrictions in the city.

The Ontario government says Ottawa will move to the second-strictest "red" level of the province's pandemic framework on Friday, which means outdoor events will be capped at 25 people.

Organizers of the The Long Road Back planned to use rapid COVID-19 testing to screen 100 concert-goers at the outdoor show featuring soul band the Commotions on March 27.

They say the sold-out event will be delayed until "such time as it is deemed safe to proceed."

The Ontario Festival Industry Taskforce says the concert's announcement earlier this week helped spur a discussion about how rapid COVID-19 testing could be a tool to help bring back live music this year.

Organizers say they're still hopeful that festivals and events will be able to move forward this summer or fall.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press