Despite some concerns about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the U.S., The Broadway League announced that masks would continue to be optional for the 41 theatres in New York through August “and until further notice.” Broadway had been one of the final holdouts in requiring face masks for those in attendance, but lifted that mandate as of July 1. Proof of vaccination was also required for all in attendance over age five through the end of April 2022.
“Millions of people enjoyed the unique magic of Broadway by watching the 75th Tony Award Ceremony recently,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said at the time of the mandate being lifted. “Millions more have experienced Broadway LIVE in theatres in New York City and throughout the U.S., since we reopened last fall. We’re thrilled to welcome even more of our passionate fans back to Broadway in the exciting 22-23 season that has just begun.”
With its 2022-23 season nearly two months in, grosses and attendance have been strong for Broadway, at least compared to the long ramp-up from complete shutdown that characterized the 2021-22 season. Grosses have hung between $33.35 and $28.9 million in the eight weeks thus far, with attendance varying from a high of 257,210 in the week ending May 29 to a low of 225,011 in the week ending July 17. For comparison, attendance was below that 225,000 mark for all but nine weeks of the 2021-22 Broadway season. Attendance numbers typically dip in the summertime, as many New Yorkers depart the city for vacations, and the tourist traffic is diminished.
Broadway was forced to shut its doors for more than a year due to the pandemic, with theatres shutting down in March 2020 and remaining closed until Bruce Springsteen took the stage at the St. James in late June of 2021. The relaunch has seen its touch-and-go moments and numerous shows impacted by cast member COVID cases, but hopes are high that widespread shutdowns will remain a thing of the past, despite increased concerns of the reportedly highly transmissable new strain of COVID that has become dominant – ba.5.
According to statistics tracked at worldometers.info, the United States has seen the average number of newly reported COVID cases rise to slightly more than 100,000 per day since early June, which is the highest it has been since the massive spike driven by the Omicron variant petered out in February. The number of deaths attributed to COVID has remained flat, however, never rising above 400 (on a 7-day average basis) since that last late 2021 and early 2022 spike.
Despite them no longer being required, most Broadway theatres are still requesting that those in attendance wear face masks while at the shows.
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Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dave Clark