Anyone planning to see a Broadway show sometime over the next three months had better bring along a mask and proof of vaccination along with their tickets.
On Friday, the Broadway League announced that the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters will require vaccinations for audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew, and theater staff, for all performances through Oct. 31. In addition, audience members will be required to wear masks, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
The news comes as New York State continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases and positivity levels due to several factors, notably the spread of the delta variant and large portions of the population remaining unvaccinated against the virus.
“As vaccination has proven the most effective way to stay healthy and reduce transmission, I’m pleased that the theater owners have decided to implement these collective safeguards at all our Broadway houses,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. “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.”
Theatergoers will need to present proof of vaccination along with their tickets. Under the new guidelines, the performance date for attendees must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or at least two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
Those exempt from the vaccine rule are children younger than 12 and people with a medical condition or religious belief that prevents vaccination, the theater operators said. Those parties will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Further information on safety protocols can be found at broadway.org.
Long Island theaters have yet to make a similar announcement. Jeffrey Sanzel, executive artistic director at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson said it could be a week or so before local theaters also issue masking and vaccine requirements. “We will be exploring all protocols based on what is coming out in both the state and theater communities,” he said.
Theatre Three, which reopened July 9, has asked people who are not vaccinated to wear masks.