Broadway Announces Proof Of Vaccination And Mask Mandate For Audiences

by Kristine Cannon
Broadway signs in Times Square NYC
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Vaccinations will also be required for staff, performers, and more at all 41 theaters in NYC

Following reports of increased cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the Broadway League announced on Friday that audiences must now not only wear a mask into any of New York City’s Broadway theaters, but they must also show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering any venue. And it’s not just audiences who must follow this new mandate through October of this year; the policy also applies to performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff.

According to Broadway League’s press release published on Friday, 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 their time of entry into the theatre with their valid ticket.

What does “fully vaccinated” mean? It 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.

“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,” says Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, in a prepared statement. “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.”

While the new policy extends through October, theatre owners anticipate a review of policies in September for performances in November 2021 and beyond. According to the release, this “may include a relaxation of certain provisions if the science dictates.”

“This is what we have as a community on Broadway decided and then we’re going to reevaluate it in October. It’s still fluid,” Bonnie Comley, board president of The Drama League, tells The Associated Press. “This should be a positive thing. All these different unions that don’t always agree have come together to be able to do this before people come into the theater.”

There are exceptions to the new policy.

Children under 12 and people with a medical condition or closely-held religious belief that prevents vaccination are exempt. However, 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 six hours of the performance start time.

“With these procedures in place and recognizing the high vaccination rates among NYC audiences, Broadway continues to make safety our priority,” says Nick Scandalios of The Nederlander Organization. “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.”