Many Broadway theaters are at last preparing to reopen after more than a year of shutdowns in the wake of the pandemic, but things may look a little different for audiences returning to their seats this season. On Friday, the 41 Broadway theaters announced new mandates for audience members which will require both proof of COVID-19 vaccination and the wearing of masks throughout the performances (except when eating or drinking), according to the New York Times.
The news comes as cases of the highly contagious Delta variant continue to climb, leading the CDC to recommend that even those who have been vaccinated wear masks indoors in areas of high transmission. Some cities, like Los Angles, had already chosen to return to indoor mask mandates, which had slowly begun loosening this year. While New York City has yet to reinstate those requirements citywide, many businesses in the Big Apple have continued to require masks, proof of vaccination, or both, and now Broadway has become the latest to add its name to that list.
The Great White Way won't be the only place theatergoers will be facing new safety protocols, though. The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall, which plan to reopen in September and October respectively, are planning not only to require vaccinations but also to bar audience members under the age of 12 who are too young to qualify for vaccinations. (Broadway will still allow children not old enough to be eligible for the vaccinations into the audience if they are tested for the virus in advance, accord to the Times.)
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