Excitement quickly turned to disappointment.
That's the sentiment from some business owners after the Ford government announced on Friday it was completely lifting capacity limits in certain settings where proof of vaccination is required, like concert venues.
"We thought almost 19 months of waiting was coming to an end... but that was quickly denounced," said Paul Maxwell, president of Maxwell's Concerts and Events in Waterloo.
Maxwell said the new rules aren't applicable to general admission or standing-room venues.
"Obviously it's frustrating, the assumption I think from the government is that there's a certain level of organization at bigger establishments like Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena."
Maxwell said that's because larger venues have assigned seating and ushers.
"It's a little different at venues like Maxwell's where they're independently operated and owned, and things like assigned seating aren't a possibility," explained Maxwell. "We do have seats at quite a few events and shows, however it's not assigned seating... it's just general admission seating. And unfortunately, that still doesn't apply into the government's recent updated capacity limits."
Early next month, Maxwell's is set to host its first live show since March of 2020. There are also several others planned throughout November.
Maxwell said they'll likely receive updated guidance on their plans from the Canadian Live Music Association on Wednesday.
"We'll find out a lot more information [on Wednesday] and we're hopeful that we're still going to be able to run events in November. The government is mandating that concert clubs are going to be forcibly, y'know supposed to be using the vaccine passport, with major fines if that's not followed."
Maxwell said he will continue to monitor the situation and listen to the government's rules and regulations, as well as guidance from health experts in Waterloo Region.
"Things change so quickly. The last thing we want to do is jump the gun too early on rules and regulations that are changing quite frequently."
Maxwell added that timing is also important, as the venues that have been left behind need ample notice of what any new requirements will be.
"From a concert clubs' perspective, the hard part is the runway that we need to launch an event. If we have an event in two weeks and all of the rules and regulations are still in a grey area, it makes it really hard to plan and meet consumer expectations," stated Maxwell. "We need a bit of a runway to be able to communicate to ticket holders what's going on, and to make adjustments with staffing and in the venue itself."
Maxwell added if any planned events are postponed due to COVID-19 regulations, there will be options for those who purchased tickets.
"Any tickets will be honoured at a future concert, hopefully the same artist can be rebooked. If not, a refund will be provided."
Additionally, Maxwell said if shows are going ahead as scheduled — messaging will be sent out to ticket holders regarding the venue's rules and regulations.