A vaccination center for Broadway workers opened Monday in Times Square.
The center, located at 20 Times Square in the former home of the NFL Experience site, will administer about 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines a week, with the goal of increasing its capacity in the weeks ahead. Vaccination appointments will be reserved for members for the Broadway community and, as announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, another set will now be reserved for members of the film and television communities.
However, as of Monday evening, details on how to sign up for the reserved slots remained scarce, to the frustration of some members of the theater community. The Actors Fund, which is one of the organizations working with the city to allocate appointments, expected to have more information on the registration process Tuesday.
A spokesperson for de Blasio said since the vaccination site is city-run, eligible vaccine recipients must prove New York City residency or employment when they arrive at site. Appointment requests for the site can be made through the city’s vaccine scheduling website.
The site, which has hired members of the theater industry as support staff, will be open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Once the vaccination center reaches full capacity, which is expected in the next one to two weeks, it will employ 80 to 100 members of the theater community, according to ATC Healthcare Services, the staffing agency for the site.
De Blasio announced the creation of the vaccination center for the Broadway community on March 25, as part of a larger push to help make the targeted fall reopening a reality.
The mayor toured the site Monday, alongside “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father, Luis Miranda. Speaking after the tour, de Blasio emphasized the need to bring back arts and culture, which he said is not only part of the city’s economy, but “part of our identity.”
Miranda underlined the loss felt within the Broadway community during the pandemic, referencing the deaths of actor Nick Cordero and playwright Terrence McNally, and spoke to the need for theater workers and audience members to get vaccinated.
“We want to gather again, and we want to tell stories in the dark,” Miranda said. “We cannot do that if we don’t feel safe, and if you don’t feel safe.”
He added that this site will have particular resonance for members of the theater community, since it is being staffed by fellow community members, including “Wicked” company manager Susan Sampliner.
“And if anyone knows how to make shit run on time, it’s Broadway stage managers. So you’ll be in good hands,” Miranda said.
Sampliner, who confirmed that she is a site manager at the vaccination site, told Broadway News she relished the opportunity to help out the theatrical community.
“It was a chance for me to give back to my community by getting their audiences and them vaccinated, so we can get back to work, and get colleagues paid until we’re back in operation,” Sampliner said.