Theaters on Broadway in New York City will require audience members to wear masks and present proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
All workers, including performers and backstage crew, are also being required to get COVID-19 shots.
Under the new policy, patrons must present proof that they’ve gotten a vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
Patrons must have become fully vaccinated, or have gotten the final dose in their regimen—some vaccines require two doses—at least 14 days before attending a show.
The policy is in place through Oct. 31.
Policies may be relaxed “if the science dictates,” the Broadway League said.
The only exemptions are for children under 12 or for people with a medical condition or a religious belief that prevents vaccination.
Those people must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the performance, or a negative antigen test within 6 hours of the performance.
“As vaccination has proven the most effective way to stay healthy and reduce transmission, I’m pleased that the theatre owners have decided to implement these collective safeguards at all our Broadway houses. A uniform policy across all New York City Broadway theatres makes it simple for our audiences and should give even more confidence to our guests about how seriously Broadway is taking audience safety,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement.
Nick Scandalios of The Nederlander Organization, speaking for theatre owners, added that “the entire theatre community is committed to the highest level of public health standards.”
There are 41 theaters on Broadway, according to the league.
Broadway is known as one of the premier destinations to view live shows in the United States.
Broadway shut down last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has not reopened yet. Shows will start reopening on Sept. 14.
A number of companies have begun announcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but far fewer are imposing vaccine requirements on customers.
Danny Meyer, a restaurateur, made waves Thursday when he said all customers would need to be vaccinated to enter his restaurants.
Proof of vaccination, or vaccine passports, have been partially banned in some Republican-led states. Civil liberties groups have expressed concern about the passports.
“The issues around passport design are separate from the question of where and when people can be required to furnish proof of vaccinations, but if a passport system makes it very easy to ask for and to provide proof of vaccination, it’s likely that such requests will become over-used as people get asked for credentials at every turn,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in a blog post in March.
“While there are legitimate circumstances in which people can be asked for proof of vaccination, we don’t want to turn into a checkpoint society that outlasts the danger of COVID and that casually excludes people without credentials from facilities where vaccine mandates are not highly justified,” he added.