Broadway theaters will end a requirement for theater patrons to don face masks when attending performances, adopting what it, without a hint of irony, termed a “mask optional” policy.
The Broadway League, the group that represents theater owners, said that the policy would remain in force until at least July 31, 2022 and said that the group would continue to “monitor the science,” adding that, if necessary, the mask policy would be reinstated.
The move came as the number of new daily coronavirus cases continued to decline somewhat in New York City.
For Broadway to reopen, the theaters instituted a vaccine mandate for themselves even before New York City officials did so for restaurants, fitness centers, and cinemas. It kept that rule in place through the end of April, long after the city had ended its vaccine passport mandate.
The vaccination policy continues, however, to remain in effect for all performers, theater staff, and backstage crew.
The change will mean an end, at least for now, to the presence of Covid safety offers who ensured theatergoers were masked before entering the building and walked up and down aisles holding signs reminding the audience of the mandate.
Other theaters including many off-Broadway venues continue to mandate both proof of vaccination as well as the wearing of face masks.
New York City recently ended the mask mandate for toddlers attending preschool although a mask requirement continues for all public transit in the state.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)