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Events return to Omaha’s biggest venue amid COVID-19 pandemic

Disney On Ice, O’Reilly’s World of Wheels ready for a big weekend
Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 10:36 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The CHI Health Center is kicking back into action in a big way this weekend, signaling a return to some normalcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cars lined up inside for the 66th Annual O’Reilly’s World of Wheels custom car show starting Friday, and Thursday night Disney On Ice with their first of seven shows.

6 News was at the arena Thursday for a behind-the-scenes look at how their keeping performers and fans safe.

“We are taking a lot of safety precautions,” said Colleen Clancy, a principal performer with Disney On Ice. “We’re not filling stadiums as much to keep people safe and distant.”

Despite the smaller crowds, Clancy is glad to be back in her role as Cinderella.

“Being able to bring these characters to life for everyone who’s been at home and been kind of isolated for so long, the fact we’re able to bring a little magic and normalcy to people has been really special,” said Clancy.

The nearly 40 performers are in their own bubble, wearing masks, getting temperature checks daily, traveling with a team of nurses, and COVID-19 tests every week.

“I’ll wake up in the morning and we’ll fill out a little survey of how you’re feeling,” said Clancy. “If you have any symptoms of anything you give yourself a little flag and then talk to some nurses and figure it out.”

The audience is also adjusting to pandemic precautions.

“We have a mitigation plan we use in all venues we go to,” said Claire Teson, tour coordinator. “That basically just outlines that everyone wears their masks when they come to the show and get their temperatures taken when they come in.”

The most notable change is the seating, keeping people who come together, close together.

“You’ll see on tickets exactly where you’re seated, but essentially that row in front of you, nobody’s sitting in front of you,” said Teson. “That row behind you, nobody’s behind you. And there’s some space before the next group will start.”

From performers’ point of view, the audience hasn’t missed a beat.

“You know they’re even louder, with less people, they’re even louder,” said Clancy. “So that’s just an amazing thing. The energy is really contagious.”

Disney On Ice has six more shows at the CHI Health Center through early next week, with tickets still available.

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