Broadway theatergoers will have to keep their masks up through at least May 31, the Broadway League said Friday. The announcement comes as the United States deals with a COVID-19 surge, with cases rising nationally and in most states after a two-month decline.
One policy change is that Broadway theaters will soon leave vaccination checks up to theater owners. The Shubert Organization, which owns 17 theaters, said it will not require proof of vaccination from patrons starting May 1.
The Broadway League will announce future masking protocols in May. Broadway’s mask and vaccination policy has been in place since July 30, 2021.
“Since resuming performances last fall, over 5 million attendees have seen a Broadway show, and the safety and security of our cast, crew, and audience has been our top priority,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League said. 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.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a small uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases throughout the United States. Cases are up 30% from a week ago, causing concerns that deaths and hospitalizations could also rise.
Although experts say COVID-19 is more contagious than ever before, as more Americans gain antibodies through vaccines and infections, it's unclear how deadly another surge of the virus would be.