Masks will be required while patrons enter the building, but TIFF policy states that "Patrons may remove their masks once they are sitting in their assigned in-cinema seats."
TIFF's policy continues, "An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending TIFF, you voluntarily assume all risks related to the exposure to COVID-19 and agree that you will not hold TIFF liable for any illness that may result."
TIFF will be limiting screening attendances to 50 attendees per screen, which is well below capacity. In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, the festival said that they're following public health guidelines. According to Toronto bylaws, face masks are required in "indoor public spaces" including "concert venues, theatres [and] cinemas." Bylaws allow an exception for dining establishments, grooming services involving the face, and certain fitness activities. There is no stated exemption on toronto.ca for movie theatres.
Naturally, some people are concerned about the move. See some Twitter reactions to the news below.
Bold of TIFF to announce their policy they picked up from the sentient cans of white claw holding Hugs Not Masks in Queens Park.— Niko Stratis (@nikostratis) September 8, 2020
coincidentally tiff would be the name of a 905 woman and true lover of thęâtré hellbent against masks at the cînëmã— Jill Krajewski (@JillKrajewski) September 8, 2020
What none of you plebs seem to understand is that TIFF makes $75 million a year in popcorn and twizzler sales. $86 mil if you include Junior Mints. Either those masks go or their profits do— Brian Firenzi (@mrbrianfirenzi) September 8, 2020
TIFF is so desperate to get people to come that they're adopting a "masks optional" policy. Even the optics of that message can make people think it's ok right now to be at a mass gathering in public without a mask. How irresponsible.— flickchart lover (@nessiealliance) September 8, 2020
If masks are required in indoor spaces and the the Bell Lightbox theatres are indoors, how are masks at indoor TIFF screenings optional?https://t.co/SrjedXdHfh— Mike Scott (@mscott71) September 8, 2020
@TIFF_NET are you kidding me? You shouldn't be hosting these in person let alone without masks. My family lives in Toronto not too far from where these happen. If you start a superspreader event all so people can have a false sense of normalcy, how is that worth it? https://t.co/deAcmaNLtQ— Sara Perle (@saperle) September 8, 2020