Social: Creating Social Distancing Setup

The name of this feature is called social distance seating. It is a by-product of Covid19 and the resultant need to sell a seat and automatically hold other seats around that seat so that people are provided a comfortable social distance between parties.

Theatre Manager has provided this feature for years (formerly called associated seats) and it can be used for a variety of purposes such as:

  • Automatic holds for ADA companion seats
  • Seats in a dinner theatre for two-top's to avoid a patron sitting for dinner with a stranger sitting opposite.
  • Similarly, Social Distance seats are held automatically when a groups are bought to maintain an appropriate distance between patrons in all directions.

Before using the social distance seat function, be sure that you already have set the social distance/associated seat hold letter in System Preferences
Social distance seats can be exported as part of the Seat Names tab and imported into other similar pricing maps for tweaking.
If you want every seat in the pricing map to have a social distance barrier, then you have to set social distance seats for each and every seat in the venue.
If you have permanent house helds (eg for light board), DO NOT set social distance seats for permanent holds. Instead, set the rest of your social distance seating as if those seats are not there. If you want to make those permanent holds look like they are blocked, set the hold letter to 'q'.

You can mix and match any of these purposes on a single map.

The functions are described in the following:

Click on a seat If you click on any seat on the map:
  • the seat you picked will show with a '*' in it
  • Any associated social distance seats will show with the social distance letter as set up in system preferences. It is typically a typically a 'q'
The image to the right shows one seat clicked, surrounded by 8 social distance seats. You can have and many rows in front or back and seats on either side - depending on your venue's characteristics.

The image to the right show what the user will see when seats are sold online. The seats:

  • that are offered will be coloured as normal
  • that are around the offered seats will have a '*' in them indicating they are social distance seats and cannot be bought by anybody else.
Select a range of seats If you select more than one seat (i.e. a range of seats), they will be displayed with a 'Q' in them.


Use SHIFT click on other seats to make non-rectangular selections. Those seats with:
  • no letters in them, you can add those seats to the potential social distance seat holds
  • with a 'Q' in them, you can remove those seats from the potential social distance seat holds
  • NOTE: you must have at least two seats with 'Q' in them to add a third or remove one using shift. Once you are down to one seat, Theatre Manager changes it to a '*' and you are not longer in the social distance creation mode.


After seats have been selected CLICK on one of those seats with a 'Q' in it and a menu automatically pops up allowing you to do one of three things (see image below):
  • Display the seats currently associated with that one seat
  • Make the selected seat the centre seat for social distancing. This means when the 'centre' of the seat group is sold, all the other seats will be held. This is ONE-WAY assignation. Use this option
    • if the goal is to hold all seats around the one seat (social distance) - eg COVID 19
    • if you want to only hold companion seats if a wheelchair seat is selected, but not when companion seats are being sold independently.
  • Make all the selected seats associated with and co-dependant on each other. This means if any one is sold, then all others are held. This makes a MULTIPLE assignation. You might use this for:
    • dinner theatre seats that are across from each other
    • handicapped seating and companion seats - where if the companion seat is sold, other others are held
Clears the associated social distance seats from the selected seats. Use this if you want to start over for a range of seats.
Zoom in on a selected section of the map.
Zoom out on a selected section of the map.
Back a seat - you can use this button to go back one seat and see what the associated social distance holds are for that seat.

The seat order is determined by the logical seat order set up in the Draw tab which may not the adjacent seat when you look at things visually.

Using this feature, you can quickly scan the seats in a venue to see what is associated, without needing to click on them all.

Forward a seat - you can use this button to go forward one seat and see what the associated social distance holds are for that seat.

The seat order is determined by the logical seat order set up in the Draw tab which may not the adjacent seat when you look at things visually.

Using this feature, you can quickly scan the seats in a venue to see what is associated, without needing to click on them all.

The heat map shows the number of seats that are associated with a particular seat.

For example, a seat with an '8' in it is references by 8 other seats. Selling any one of those 8 other seats would result in this seat being held.

Use this to determine if there is an anomaly in how you set things up. For example, if one seat in the middle of a number of '8' seats shows a '3', then there is probably a mistake in how some associated seats were set up to reference that seat.

Seats closer to aisles or edges of the theatre seating should have lower usage numbers.

Note: Theatre Manager can only display one character in each square. for associates seats greater than 9, a letter is used instead, starting with A as follows:
  • A = 10
  • B = 11
  • C = 12
  • D = 13
  • etc
The same advice applies. If you see a seat with D surrounded by Y's, something needs to be looked at.
Holds If you click the 'holds' button on the social distance setup, it will show you the default holds for the price map overlaid with the 'Q' holds you are worlking on.

You might have tech holds in the venue, or the first two rows held that will never be sold. If this is the case, you may have a natural social distance barrier that behaves like an aisle. You don't have to include those held seats in the social distance seating.

Verify This goes through all social distance seats and to determine if there is a conflict with any of the holds. Refer to the Verify Social Distance web page.

Verify Social Distance

It is very important that holds on a venue DO NOT conflict with social distance holds.

In other words held seats for things like lighting boards, ushers, donors, cannot appear as a 'q' hold for a social distance seat. The different types of holds must be mutually exclusive.


Verifying Social distance holds

After you have set up all your social distance holds, you need to verify them against the permanent holds (return to holds) that you have set up for the venue and make sure they do not overlap.

In the image to the right, the Holds button was checked and you can see some of the permanent holds added to the venue. In this example, they are 3 aisle seats on the left side of the venue.

To find out if there are any conflicts with these holds, click the verify button. A conflict is defined as

  • any social distance hold that uses one of these 3 holds as part of their social distance seat holds
  • or, in other words, if you click on a seat to sell as social distance, is this permanent hold seat part of what would be held as a 'q' hold


Message shown for a conflict

After clicking the Verify button on the left, the system will look at all seats to see if there are issues. if it notices any conflicts, you will see an error message that pops up which looks similar to the one on the right.


Heat Map of Conflicts

The social distance map will change to show a 'heat map' to show:

  • which seats conflict with the permanent holds
  • how many times the seat conflicts

In the image to the right, you can see:

  • the numbers 1, 2 and 3.
  • For example:
    • the seat marked 3 means that it conflicts with 3 holds.
    • The seats marked 2 conflict with 2 holds.


Fixing a conflict

In all cases you need to fix these conflicts. In the example to the right, I clicked the seat marked 3 on the heatmap.

It show

  • that the 3 aisle seats that are permanent holds will also turn into 'q' holds
  • when sold - this is a conflict, because when released, they will be returned to hold, which will also return to old any seats that the hold seats are associated with.

To fix the seat

  • select the social distance seats EXCLUDING the the three hold seats as per the image below.
  • Pick the seat in the middle and set the seats as centre of the social distance map
  • repeat for all seats in conflict.
  • click the verify button again to make sure all conflicts are removed.