REGINA -- Heidi Munro and Scott Patrick were thrilled to be invited to perform on the SaskTel Max Local on Demand channel, but their performance was pulled off the channel within days of its release.

“We recorded it around the end of January and we got an email stating that there has been a complaint for no masks,” said Munro. 

SaskTel sponsored the shoot and paid performers but hired an outside company to manage the video production. In a statement, the Crown corporation said it “fully respects and abides by all SHA guidelines and expects the same of those we work with.”

“The real sad thing was that it was a closed performance. There was no audience involved, anybody involved was very socially-distanced. Everybody had masks on,” said Munro. 

Four bands recorded in January have had their work pulled from Local on Demand, but those recorded prior to the latest guidelines can remain. SaskTel said it is reviewing all content on its’ Max Local on Demand channel to ensure available programming is following public health measures at the time it was filmed. 

The union representing musicians said it’s another set back for an industry idled since the start of the pandemic. 

“The musicians union is really grateful for these shoots. Our people get paid to do the shoots, they get a copy of the video to use as they please. The video is up for one year on demand. It’s a very, very good deal for musicians and we really do appreciate it,” said Brian Sklar, president of the Regina Musicians’ Association. 

Munro and Patrick appreciate any opportunity to work.

“Do we mind wearing masks? No. If we had been aware of it at the time, we would have done it or we would have declined the opportunity,” said Patrick.

SaskTel is looking into the possibility of reshooting the videos that have been pulled off the cable channel, presumably with performers wearing masks.