As the Sundance Film Festival anticipates many returning in-person for their 2022 hybrid event, organizers are taking extra safety precautions with the latest headlines of Omicron, one of which is reduced capacities at movie theaters, screening rooms and festival-sponsored events.
In addition, no concessions will be sold or consumed at theater venues so as to provide a situation where moviegoers keep their masks on during all screenings.
These new guidelines for Sundance are similar to what TIFF was enforcing back in September: Their theaters operated with reduced seating and popcorn, soda, candy etc weren’t sold. Sundance hasn’t specified a specific percentage on theater and screening room capacities as it will be in response to the severity of the variant at the time of the event which runs from Jan. 20-30. Even if Utah movie theaters are operating at 100% capacity, if the location is screening any Sundance titles, those cinemas will adhere to the fest’s reduced attendance Covid policies.
Sundance-operated non-theater venues will also have reduced capacity for public programming at The Craft, The Filmmaker Lodge, The Box and The Shop with food and beverages not permitted Sponsored lounges will determine their own capacity and safety requirements, however, we’ve been told it’s likely they’ll abide by Sundance’s suggested policies.
Sundance’s updated safety measures for the 2022 edition come as many Hollywood events in the next month are either postponing (i.e. the Critics Choice Awards, Book of Boba Fett premiere, AFI Luncheon) or simply canceling (the BAFTA tea, Palm Springs Film Festival in-person awards gala).
As previously reported, Sundance will be hybrid, with a virtual component for the second year in a row during Covid.
While Sundance already had a strict in-person mask and vaccination policy in place, as of today, they’re requiring boosters for all in-person attendees (employees, volunteers, contractors, general public, artists, partners, press, and industry) who are eligible and for who the CDC recommends, currently everyone 16 and older. Currently, fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19, Moderna), a single dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, or following the protocol for other WHO-approved vaccines.
Testing requirements were added, requiring community members (employees, volunteers, artists, press and industry) to show a negative test completed within 48 hours prior to arriving at the Festival, with additional testing requirements for those attending private gatherings of artists taking part in Q&A’s or press activities and lines. Sundance Institute will offer free testing to all participants and community members at specific hubs located around the Park City event. Employees, volunteers and onsite contractors are required to test at check-in, midway through the fest, but encouraged to test every 48 hours throughout the event. Both PCR and rapid antigen tests will be offered and accepted as proof of a COVID-19 test. Additionally, any FDA-approved COVID-19 test that displays a valid date and time of test taken and valid lab result will be accepted.
Vaccination and booster verification, for those eligible, need to be shown on site at a vaccine verification and testing hub and once shown, each participant will be provided a wristband that will need to be worn at all times. Sundance Institute has partnered with PandemSafe and will offer free vaccine verification to all employees, volunteers, artists, filmmakers, press and industry, contractors, and general attendees. Individuals will upload their vax cards into the PandemSafe portal, via a link sent to their email. This email will be generated when an individual purchases a ticket, or it will be available on the Sundance website under the How to Fest section beginning Jan. 6. The PandemSafe team will verify the uploaded card within 1-2 days from upload prior to the Festival and 2-4 hours during the Festival and in return, the individual will be sent a QR code. This code will allow users to get a verification wristband when they come to the Festival. Alternatively, attendees may show a paper vaccination card at a vaccine vaccination and testing hub in order to obtain a wristband.