Audiences journeying into the heart of Manhattan for any one of the dozens of returning Broadway productions will need to be fully vaccinated to attend, the Broadway League announced Friday.
Face masks must also be worn by all theatre guests throughout the length of the performance, except for in designated locations allowed for eating and drinking.
"Under the policy, guests will need to be fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine in order to attend a show and must show proof of vaccination at their time of entry into the theatre with their valid ticket," the announcement read.
The Broadway League is also reminding audiences to get vaccinated early. A vaccination series must be completed before attending a performance -- which means the show must be 14 days after the last dose of either a single- or two-dose vaccine.
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Children under the age of 12, who are not yet approved for the vaccine in the U.S., can attend shows with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. A negative PCR test can be taken within 72 hours of a show, whereas an antigen test is allowed within six hours of the start time.
Exceptions will also be made for ticket holders with a medical condition or "closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination."
The decision from Broadway theatre owners and operators to have masked audiences could be mere days ahead of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who on Monday is expected to make an announcement about a possible mask mandate for the city.
As of Friday, the delta variant accounts for 72% of citywide samples tested in the last four weeks, according to the latest weekly data from the city's health department. As delta spreads, worsening what the CDC has called a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," almost all of the key metrics are worsening in New York City -- still absolutely nowhere near the city's darkest days, but rising nonetheless.
“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. 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," Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said in the announcement.
The updated policy for ticket holders will be in place through at least the end of October, with theatre owners and operators reviewing the guidance in September to decide whether to keep such protocols in place for performances in November and beyond.