NEW YORK (PIX11) — Before curtains rise again in September, new COVID safety protocols for Broadway were announced Thursday.
The owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City will require audiences to be fully vaccinated, on top of all performers, crew members, and theater staff, for all performances through October 2021, the Broadway League said Friday.
Theatergoers will need to mask up and show proof of vaccination when entering a venue with their tickets. Masks will be required for all guests within theaters, except when eating or drinking in designated areas. Exceptions are for children under 12 who are ineligible for the vaccine, and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief preventing vaccination. They have to supply either a negative COVID PCR test from within 72 hours of showtime or a negative antigen test taken within six hours.
The Actors’ Equity Association also reached a deal with the Broadway League on safety measures for workers at shows and sit-down productions across the country. The cast and crew of all shows will now be required to be fully vaccinated against the virus, with the exception of those who cannot due to age or health risks.
Weekly COVID testing will also be mandated for all theater workers, the union said. Additionally, the theaters must improve their HVAC systems to ensure air circulation is functioning properly at all times.
Theaters are currently scheduled to begin welcoming back fans in September. Leaders from the Broadway League and Actor’s Equity Association say the safety agreement is a milestone for the industry, and it is the key to getting productions back up and running.
Before the pandemic shut down the Great White Way, shows drew more than 14 million people each year, contributing to $1.8 billion in ticket sales.