Broadway will require audiences be vaccinated, wear masks

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — When curtains rise again on Broadway in September, theatergoers will need to mask up and show proof of vaccination.

The owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters in the city will require audiences be fully vaccinated, on top of all performers, crew members and theater staff, for all performances through October 2021, the Broadway League said Friday.

Fans will need to show proof of their vaccination at the time of entry into the theater with their ticket.

“I think any self-respecting Broadway audience member would be thrilled to do their part and show their vaccination card,” Tom D’Angora, a Broadway producer, told PIX11 News. “And if you’re not vaccinated, no offense — but stay home until you are.”

Masks will also be required for all guests inside the theaters, except when eating or drinking in designated areas.

Exceptions are being made for children under 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine, as well as people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. These guests must still provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken within 72 hours of showtime, or a negative antigen test taken within six hours of the performance.

“We are going to follow the rules that 13 Broadway unions, associations and guilds came up with,” Bonnie Comley, board president of The Drama League, told PIX11 News. “We have 13 guilds worth of members that have to be safe. They have to feel comfortable going to work and this is what they came up with.”

It’s a soft reopening for the $1.8 billion industry after COVID shut down Broadway in March of 2020.

Springsteen on Broadway was the first to reopen in late June. A new play, Pass Over, begins previews on Aug. 4, and then Wicked, the Lion King and Hamilton reopen in September. Thirty new plays are set to open by May.

Theatre lovers don’t seem to mind these new rules.

“For me, because I respect others, it would make me feel safe,” Tina Doucette, a tourist from Maine, told PIX11 News. “It would encourage me to go because I would feel safe.”

Another tourist, Jesse Watson, who was wearing a mask added: “With the delta variant going around , you should be wearing a mask, regardless whether you have the vaccination.”

These new Broadway attendance rules are only in effect until the end of October, when the Broadway League may review and potentially relax them, they say, “if the science dictates.”

The news comes after it was announced all Broadway shows’ cast and crew would need to be vaccinated and undergo regular testing.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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