Broadway Will Require Audiences To Be Vaccinated For Covid & Masked Except When Eating Or Drinking

·4 min read

The Broadway League announced today that the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City will require vaccinations for audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, for all performances through October 2021.

Masks will also be required for audiences inside the theaters, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.

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Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League said, said in a statement that a uniform policy across all New York City Broadway theaters “makes it simple for our audiences and should give even more confidence to our guests about how seriously Broadway is taking audience safety.”

The news comes as the first play of the Broadway season – Pass Over – begins rehearsals in advance of the start of preview performances on Aug. 4. The production was one of several that had already announced a mandatory vaccine policy for audience members.

Speaking on behalf of the theater owners, Nick Scandalios of The Nederlander Organization said, “With these procedures in place and recognizing the high vaccination rates among NYC audiences, Broadway continues to make safety our priority. As we get ready for Broadway’s big comeback, the entire theatre community is committed to the highest level of public health standards. We’re all eager to welcome our many patrons and fans back to the magic of Broadway.”

Just yesterday, Actors’ Equity Association, the union of actors and stage managers, and the League, which represents producers and theater owners, had reached an agreement requiring mandatory vaccines for Broadway’s workforce. The League also has reached a similar agreement with the American Federation of Musicians of the US and Canada regarding touring shows, just as a touring production of Wicked is set to resume performances on August 3 in Dallas.

Also yesterday, Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre announced audience vaccine and mask mandates for its Broadway in Hollywood productions including Hamilton, which begins performances at the venue on Aug. 17.

Under the Broadway audience policy announced today, guests will need to be fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine in order to attend a show and must show proof of vaccination at the time of entry into the theater. “Fully vaccinated,” according to the League, means the performance date must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine, or at least 14 days after a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine.

Theater owners and operators will begin notifying ticket holders for performances through October 31, 2021, with reminder messaging planned to ensure awareness of the new policies. For performances in November 2021 and beyond, theater owners anticipate a review of policies in September, and, says the League, may include “a relaxation of certain provisions if the science dictates.”

In a statement, St. Martin said, “As vaccination has proven the most effective way to stay healthy and reduce transmission, I’m pleased that the theatre owners have decided to implement these collective safeguards at all our Broadway houses.”

Exceptions will be made for children under 12 and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. These guests will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative Covid-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time.

The Broadway policy comes after Pass Over and Springsteen on Broadway – both housed at venues owned by Jujamcyn Theaters – and the non-profit Roundabout Theatre Company had already instituted mandatory vaccines for audiences. Jujamcyn, Nederlander and the Shubert Organization are the three largest commercial theater owners on Broadway, and the new vaccine policy has now been adopted by all three.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN today that vaccine mandates could be coming to other NYC industries. Asked whether he plans to mandate vaccinations for restaurants, de Blasio said that “given everything we’re learning about the delta variant, all options are on the table.

“I keep saying we’re climbing the ladder in terms of more and more mandates, tougher and tougher measures to make sure that people are vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “What’s going to happen, bluntly, is that folks who are vaccinated are going to be able to experience all the things that they love in the life of this city and this country, and folks who are not vaccinated are going to find that too many things that they want to do they can’t do unless they are vaccinated. That has to be the reality, because people will respond to that.”

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