As Broadway musicals like Hamilton and Wicked prepare for a September reopening, the Broadway League announced COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for audience members. According to a press release, shared by the Broadway League organization on Friday, July 30, all 41 Broadway theaters will require audience members, performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff to be vaccinated.
Under the announcement, audience members will also be required to wear masks, except while eating or drinking in designated areas. The vaccination and mask requirements are scheduled to last through October 2021 performances, the press release read. The Broadway League intends to review the policy in September and make decisions regarding future shows at that time.
There are exceptions to Broadway's vaccination requirement. Per the press release, children under 12, those with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination will be permitted to attend shows with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. The negative result must have occurred within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time.
“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,” Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League said in a press release statement.
Broadway's decision comes as the Delta variant, a mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2, continues to cause an increase in case counts across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributes more than 80% of current COVID-19 cases to the Delta variant, CNN reports. World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Delta is “the most transmissible of the variants identified so far," and in response to its transmissibility, mask mandates are being reinstated across parts of the United States.
Per the CDC's announcement on July 27, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, asked that “fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others.”
Walensky pointed to the need for a continued increase in vaccinations, saying, “With the Delta variant, vaccinating more Americans now is more urgent than ever. The highest threat of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates and among unvaccinated people. This moment — and most importantly, the associated illness, suffering, and death — could have been avoided with higher vaccination coverage in this country.”
Like Broadway, companies including Walt Disney, Walmart, Google, and Facebook have announced vaccination and mask requirements, The New York Times reports.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue