Established in 1930, The Broadway League is a national trade association that promotes common interests and negotiates collective bargaining agreements with theatrical unions and guilds.
Members include theater operators, owners and general managers, producers, and suppliers of goods and services to the theater industry. According to the organization’s website, the League is dedicated “…to fostering increased interest in Broadway theatre and supporting the creation of profitable theatrical productions.”
I doubt the founders of The Broadway League could ever have imagined that they’d need to protect their interests from a pandemic that completely shut down their business for a year and a half.
On July 30, the League made a joint announcement with the Actor’s Equity Association that owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City will require proof of vaccination for audience members, performers, backstage crew and theater staff for all performances held through October of this year. The policy—which goes into effect on September 13—mandates that in order to attend a show, guests must be fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine, and must show proof of vaccination when entering the theater with a valid ticket (details here). Audience members will be required to wear masks inside the theater, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
Exemptions are being allowed for individuals with medical conditions and children under 12, as well as for people whose religious practices prevent vaccination. Those guests will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within six hours of performance start time.
Creating a uniform policy that applies to all Broadway theaters reduces confusion regarding which theaters implement the rules, and it is intended to boost audience and staff confidence that theater operators are serious about health safety. The League is expected to review these policies in September in regards to performances scheduled after November 1.
In related news, on August 3, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the nation’s first vaccine mandate for indoor dining, fitness and entertainment facilities—including movie theaters and concert venues.
”The Key to NYC Pass” program requires that employees and patrons who wish to use these facilities must show proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The mandate is designed to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant and allow the city’s economic recovery to continue. The first phase of the program begins on August 16, with enforcement of the policy starting on September 13.
A bit over-the-top? Some people may think so, but The League and NYC are protecting their investments and ensuring that businesses can remain open, safely.