The Broadway League is the latest group to join a growing number of government agencies and businesses that will implement a Covid vaccine mandate. The League, which represents theater owners and show producers, put out a statement today saying that all 41 Broadway theaters will “require vaccinations for audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, for all performances through October 2021.” In addition, audience members must wear masks indoors, given the CDC’s new guidelines surrounding the Delta variant.
All of New York City’s Broadway theaters closed on March 12, 2020, due to the Covid pandemic. At the time, 31 productions were running, including eight new shows in previews and eight in rehearsal. Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, had previously said, “With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so.”
Most Broadway theaters will resume shows on September 14. Though theaters were technically able to reopen at 100 percent on May 19, necessary rehearsals, as well as time for advertising shows, landed Broadway on a fall reopening.
Springsteen on Broadway is the only Broadway show currently playing, and Pass Over will begin next week. Both of these productions had already announced vaccine requirements. “A uniform policy across all New York City Broadway theatres makes it simple for our audiences and should give even more confidence to our guests about how seriously Broadway is taking audience safety,” said St. Martin.
According to the press release:
Exceptions are being made for children under 12 and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. These guests must 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.
Likewise, the League defines “fully vaccinated” as someone who received their final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days prior to the performance date. While inside the theater, audiences will be required to wear a mask unless they are in a designated location for eating or drinking.
Currently, the policies are in effect through October 31, 2021. For performances after this date, theater owners will meet in September to review the guidelines, which “may include a relaxation of certain provisions if the science dictates.”
One of the first indoor venues to open with a vaccine mandate was the Ed Sullivan Theater. When “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” returned on June 14, the audience had to show proof of vaccination.
This week there has been a rise in new cases from the Delta variant, the CDC issued new indoor masking guidelines that apply to all of New York City. Therefore, all New York City municipal workers, including teachers and members of the FDNY and NYPD, will be required to either show proof of vaccination or participate in weekly Covid testing by September 13. And all New York State employees will be required to do the same; all patient-facing healthcare workers in state hospitals must be vaccinated, with no testing option. Certain events, such as the city’s Homecoming concert next month, will also require proof of vaccination.
According to TDF, five Broadway shows have closed or been canceled since the onset of the pandemic–Beetlejuice, Frozen, Hangmen, Mean Girls, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? An additional three productions have yet to announce a reopening–West Side Story, Sing Street, and American Buffalo.
Those wishing to learn more and purchase tickets can visit Broadway.org.
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