Fans heading to Broadway won’t be able to ditch their masks just yet, The Broadway League announced Friday. The 41 Broadway theatres in New York have extended the requirement that all who attend shows wear face masks through at least the end of May, extending the rule for another month. There will no longer be a league-imposed requirement for proof of vaccination against COVID-19, but some productions may still require it.
“Since resuming performances last fall, over five million attendees have seen a Broadway show, and the safety and security of our cast, crew, and audience has been our top priority,” says Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “Our intention is that by maintaining strict audience masking through at least the month of May, we will continue that track record of safety for all. And of course, we urge everyone to get vaccinated.”
Both masks and proof of vaccination are required at all venues through the end of April for patrons eligible to receive them. In the press release announcing the extension of the mask requirement, The Broadway League instructs those attending a show in May to “consult the show website or point of purchase for information about proof of vaccination requirements for your show.”
Broadway has had strict face mask and proof of vaccination requirements in place since it first reopened last summer as pandemic attendance restrictions were eased in New York. With case numbers declining and audience numbers on the rise, there had been some hope that the mask and vax rules would go away when they most recent extension lapsed at the end of April, but recent case count rises (and likely high-profile cases on Broadway itself) squashed those hopes.
Attendance and grosses have continued to rise through the spring, with the week ending April 10 showing the highest attendance (225,256) since early December, before numbers took a nosedive during the surge of cases that gripped the city attributed to the “Omicron” variant.
According to the New York Times, an average of 5,909 cases have been reported per day in New York, which is an increase of 66 percent from two weeks ago. Approximately half of those cases are from the city itself. Hospitalization numbers and deaths attributed to the virus have remained relatively flat, however, fueling hopes that live events will see minimal impact as opposed to previous “surges.”
The Broadway League said that plans for June and beyond would be announced in May.
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Last Updated on April 19, 2022 by Dave Clark