COVID Christmas cancelations: ZACH Theatre says crew tests positive

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The latest COVID-19 surge is putting one local Christmas tradition on pause.

ZACH Theatre announced it’s canceling its Christmas Carol show through Sunday after multiple people tested positive for COVID-19.

After putting on the show outdoors last year, the company had moved it indoors for the first time in two years, said spokesperson Drew Nebrig.

Nebrig said they test all cast and crew three times a week.

“This week, for the first time, a positive case popped up. And that turned into multiple cases,” she said.

Nebrig said they saw other theatres grapple with COVID-19 outbreaks across the country.

“There was already a little bit of a domino happening,” she said. “So, we did have a protocol in place of what are we going to do.”

Nebrig said their whole team is vaccinated, and most of those who tested positive aren’t showing symptoms, so they’re hoping everyone recovers quickly.

“I would just say to everybody, of course, keep checking back, because it’s completely unpredictable. But fingers crossed, we can do that last week of the run through Jan. 2,” she said.

She said for those who’ve already bought tickets to a canceled show of A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre, you can get a full refund, move your tickets to a future performance or turn the tickets into a donation. That can be done online or by calling the box office.

Musician Patrick Buchta was also set for a private show Thursday.

“We’re called The Misfit Toys, and you know, we only come out of the box one time a year,” he said.

This year was going to be extra special with a fundraiser to record their first album.

“But the partner of one of our members tested positive just earlier today, and so we decided that it’s just not worth it to risk our health and the health of everybody else that we’re about to come into contact with over the holidays,” he said.

Maggie Lea, owner of nightclub Cheer Up Charlies, tells KXAN they decided to delay their reopening from Sunday to next Thursday, 12/30.

“We had staff and customer exposures and needed to close to do a self-audit of sorts,” she wrote. “We want to make sure we did everything we could & did our part to take a break and reset.”

Lea added that closing for 17 full days would give them enough time to “regroup and re-implement/renew safety measures.”

Their New Year’s Eve event is still scheduled.

Buchta said COVID-19 is spreading as quickly through the Austin artist community as it is everywhere else.

“We’ve seen so many, just over the last few days, test positive,” Buchta said. “A good friend of mine wound up in the hospital with it. So we’re really, really concerned.”

Another big season for income, a bust.

“All our shows last year we canceled, and so we’re just going to hope for the best this next year,” Buchta said.

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