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JRT delays season after reports of illness

From STAFF REPORTS

A potential cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre has resulted in the cancellation of the remaining performances of “Dearly Departed” and a postponement at least until December of any future JRT productions.

“We have postponed the rest of this show and have postponed the next one,” said Kelly Wolfe, president of the JRT Board. “We did a very good job of masking, of using hand sanitizers and social distancing. You hear about outbreaks on college campuses. You hear about outbreaks in places of worship.”

In this case, he said, it seems to have hit the JRT.

News of the outbreak first hit on Sept. 8 when the JRT posted on Facebook and their website about three confirmed cases and the delay.

According to Jonesborough Town Administrator Glenn Rosenoff, JRT staff reached out to the town right away. While it is difficult to pinpoint actual numbers at this point, Rosenoff said, he had heard up to 10 as of Monday morning, but nothing had been confirmed. He also said that as of Monday morning, no audience members had been impacted, according to the local health department, but that the town was continuing to monitor the situation.

“Both JRT and town staff have been in touch with the regional health department and have been following their guidelines,” Rosenoff said.

Right now, Wolfe said, JRT officials are in something of a “wait and see” position and will continue to evaluate the situation and follow all CDC and health department guidelines.

“We are very mindful of the health of our actors and volunteers,” Wolfe said. “We’re very mindful of our role in the community in terms of the hope and the greatly needed joy that can be brought to an audience when times are tough. But all of that has been and will continue to be balanced against what is practical and safe.”