Ontario Company Aims to Clear the Air Amid COVID-19 Reopening
By Scott Lightfoot, CTV News Toronto Video journalist
TORONTO, June 3, 2021– When productions return to Toronto’s Meridian Hall, they will turn on the stage lights, and the house lights-but they’ll also turn on another set of lights that performers and audience members will never see. Meridian Hall, like all theatres in the city, has been dark for more than a year. No concerts, no performances, no events. “I think people will feel that they absolutely will want to come back to live events- theatre, sports, whatever it is” Matt Farrell,TO Live’s Vice-President of Operations, told CTV News. “We are anticipating there’s going to be hesitation .”
And to ease that hesitation, officials with TO Live have been planning and preparing for a way to safely re-open- once the government allows it.” At the beginning of the pandemic, everybody seemed to be selling a solution to something,” Farrell said. “So it took a lot of time to go and sift through that, see what was legitimate, what was not legitimate.” After spending months researching ways to improve the health and safety of their spaces, Live TO officials decided to make a number of changes. Some, like plexiglass and hand sanitizer, will be visible to patrons. Others won’t be seen by the audience, staff, or performers, but will be working behind the scenes to keep people safe.
Among them, a new application of an old technology, developed by a company out of Brantford, Ontario. “What the UVC does-it actually it rips apart everything,” John Johnston told CTV News. Johnston is the Chief Technology Officer of BlueMarble Technologies, a company that has created an LED light that uses powerful UVC rays to target viruses, like COVID-19. According to Johnston, the company’s AirProTech UVC LED lights are so powerful that they almost immediately start eliminating bacteria and viruses within two meters of the light. “It’s something that is very powerful, and it actually hits the DNA and the RNA, and destroys the carbon bonds and then it can no longer replicate,” Johnston said.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays can’t be seen by the naked eye, but are naturally emitted by the sun. UVA and UVB rays are what cause humans to tan, but UVC rays are absorbed by the atmosphere. It is the highest energy portion of the UV spectrum-so powerful it can damage human tissue. But by sealing their AirProTech System inside the air duct system, the company can disinfect the air without exposing the light to humans.