As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to lift the statewide mask mandate, Broadway leaders are evaluating the protocols for audience members and casts.
On Monday, Cuomo said the state would follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and lift mask and social distancing requirements for vaccinated individuals in most indoor and outdoor settings. This could allow Broadway houses to reopen this fall to maskless patrons and with fewer protocols for cast and crew. However, the industry has not yet announced whether vaccinations will be required to attend or perform in a show.
“The Governor’s comments today confirm that New York continues to move ahead on the road to recovery. We are evaluating the revised guidelines and their potential impact on our industry,” the Broadway League said in a statement to Broadway News.
“Broadway is still on track to resume performances beginning in September, and we continue to work with our union partners to finalize our health and safety protocols. We are not yet ready to comment specifically on vaccination requirements.”
Cuomo’s order goes into effect Wednesday.
Per the order, vaccinated individuals will still need to wear masks while using public transportation and in healthcare settings. Private businesses can continue to set their own requirements on masking and social distancing.
Broadway producers plan to reopen productions this fall at 100% capacity, but have not yet announced the final protocols that will be in place to make that possible. The protocols are expected to be set by theater owners in coordination with the state.
The Broadway League is also in the midst of negotiations with theatrical unions over safety requirements for cast and crew members.
Cuomo has said he would prefer to see venues require vaccination for entry. In his press conference Monday, he doubled down on the statement and said having that requirement for entry to concerts, sports arenas and other live events could act as an added incentive for individuals to get vaccinated and also increase the venue’s capacity limits.
Radio City Music Hall will be adopting the vaccination requirement for the closing night of the Tribeca Film Festival on June 19, Cuomo said. With fully vaccinated attendees, the music hall plans to run at full-capacity and it will not require masks.