Along with travel, theater is one of the industries that has been hardest hit by COVID. Especially Broadway.
I mean, think about it for a second. Broadway houses hold anywhere between 600 and 1,900 people, indoors, sitting right next to each other. Lobbies and restrooms are very small. Many of the buildings are usually somewhere around 100 years old, so depending on each building’s respective renovations over the years, air ventilation may or may not that great. And as someone who has been backstage at several theaters in my life, I can tell you that those areas are teeny tiny, with little elbow room for actors, dancers, musicians, backstage crew, etc. On top of all of that, you’ve got powerful unions (Actors’ Equity Association, American Federation of Musicians, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, etc.) who want to make sure their members remain safe. So there’s little wonder that Broadway has remained closed for so long.
But not anymore! A few shows have already reopened, many more have announced their reopening dates for later this year, and they all plan on opening their doors at full capacity.
Obviously, health and safety is, of course, on everyone’s mind. So it’s not surprising there’s a The New York Times‘ article stating that, due to ongoing dangers of COVID, Broadway’s theater owners and operators have announced all theatergoers must be vaccinated against coronavirus and wear masks (except when eating or drinking) in order to attend a Broadway show.
These rules will be in effect for all 41 Broadway houses through at least October, 2021.
Children under 12, who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, along with, “people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination,” will be allowed to attend, provided they show proof of a recent negative COVID test.
Safety precautions will be happening backstage, as well. An agreement between the Broadway League (they’re a trade association representing producers and theater owners) and Actors’ Equity Association (the labor union that represents performers and stage managers) requires a vaccine mandate and weekly testing for employees.
The Broadway League will re-evaluate the new protocols in September, to determine if they need to continue into November and beyond.
And if this isn’t good news for some theatergoers? Most shows plan to have temporary refund and exchange policies through at least the fall, for those who have bought tickets and are unwilling or unable to comply with the new rules.
Feature Photo: MaxPixel
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary