Broadway sets rule for audiences to be vaccinated and wear masks for performances through October
As it slowly reopens, Broadway is adopting stricter rules about who will be able to attend shows in order to keep everyone who will be in attendance at the theaters safe.
The Broadway League announced Friday that the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theatres in New York City will require vaccinations for audience members through October 2021. That means in order to attend a show, theatergoers will need to have had their second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the performance. The same two-week rule goes for people who received a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine like the one from Johnson & Johnson.
Exceptions will be 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.
With that said, all audience members will still also be required to wear masks inside the theatre, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
The new rules follow Thursday's announcement that in an agreement with the Actors' Equity Association, the Broadway League is requiring its workforce, consisting of performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, to be vaccinated. There will also be weekly testing for theater employees and improved HVAC standards for venues.
"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, about the collective decision to require vaccinations for both patrons and staff. "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."
In addition to notifying anyone with tickets through October 31 about the new rules, theatre owners anticipate a review of policies in September, and if the science dictates, may relax certain provisions for performances in November 2021 and beyond.