Broadway theaters will continue to require ticketholders to wear masks at least through June 30, industry leaders said Friday.
The Broadway League, a trade association representing theater owners and producers, said the owners and operators of all 41 theaters had agreed to the extension of the mask policy. The decision comes at a time when New York City has declared a “high Covid alert.”
Earlier this week, city officials strongly recommended medical-grade masks in public indoor settings, but Mayor Eric Adams has rejected reimposing mask mandates. But a number of performing arts venues have opted to stick with more restrictive policies in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.
“The safety and security of our cast, crew, and audience has been our top priority,” the League’s president, Charlotte St. Martin, said in a statement. “By maintaining our audience masking requirement through at least the month of June, we intend to continue that track record of safety for all, despite the Omicron subvariants.”
Most Broadway theaters this month stopped checking whether patrons are vaccinated; only a handful of Broadway theaters operated by nonprofits are continuing to enforce a vaccine requirement for patrons.
But mask requirements have been in place in Broadway theaters since they reopened last summer, and the industry has been renewing that requirement on a month-by-month basis. There have been occasional confrontations over the policy — earlier this month the actress Patti LuPone, who is starring in a revival of the musical “Company,” rebuked an attendee at a post-show talkback for the patron’s refusal to fully cover her mouth and nose with a mask. But for the most part, compliance has been high.
There are 35 shows running on Broadway, and last week 246,003 people attended a performance. And if this year follows prepandemic patterns, attendance will pick up over the next few weeks with an increase in tourism after Memorial Day.