All Broadway Audiences Must Be Vaccinated Under New Theater Rule
The new rule for the Broadway League’s 41 theaters signals a wider shift by city institutions toward requiring vaccinations.
Matt Troutman, Patch StaffPosted Fri, Jul 30, 2021 at 10:55 am ET|Updated Fri, Jul 30, 2021 at 11:40 am ET
NEW YORK CITY — The show will go on at Broadway theaters, but only for audience members who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
A show-stopping new rule by the Broadway League requires vaccinations for audiences, performers, backstage crew and staff at all 41 theaters through October.
The League’s announcement Friday put it in a growing chorus of city institutions, from New York City’s government to Danny Meyer’s restaurants, that are requiring vaccination for people who work, eat and recreate in public spaces.
“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,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a 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.”
Coronavirus infections have quadrupled in New York City over the past month, according to city health data — a rise health officials pin to the delta variant and city dwellers who remain unvaccinated.
About 71 percent of New York City’s adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, but vaccination rates vary widely among certain groups and neighborhoods in the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio this week set a sweeping vaccination-or-testing mandate for city government workers. He has encouraged other city institutions and businesses to do the same — and he has expressed openness to stricter wide vaccination rules for the public.
The Broadway League appears to have followed the mayor’s lead.
Theaters were already poised for a wide reopening Sept. 14 with full-capacity crowds. The new vaccination rule doesn’t change that but instead adds a wrinkle for theater fans.
Audience members must be fully vaccinated, the Broadway League announced — meaning the date of the performance they attend 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 vaccine.
Exceptions will be made for children under 12 and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination, according to the League. They 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, a release states.
Theater owners will revisit the rule in September and could relax it for November onward “if the science dictates,” a release states.