How to Follow Broadway's Covid Safety Protocols and Stay Stress-Free

Special Features   How to Follow Broadway's Covid Safety Protocols and Stay Stress-Free
 
Use this checklist before heading to the theatre so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Belasco_Theatre_Walkthrough_2018_HR
Belasco Theatre auditorium Marc J. Franklin

You've waited 18 months to get back inside a Broadway theatre. You've picked out the perfect show to celebrate your grand return. But upon the event of your celebratory purchase, you're met with a long list of hoops to jump through and safety protocols to abide that might make the whole endeavor seem like more trouble than it's worth. The hoops and protocols are certainly necessary, but they look much scarier than they really are. Once you sort out all of the information, taking in a Broadway show will be just as simple and joyous as it used to be. And lucky for you, we've done all the research.

Do I have to figure out a different set of Covid safety procedures for each Broadway theatre?

Short answer: No. When in doubt, look to the Broadway League.

There have been a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it comes to Broadway Covid safety policies. There's Mayor Bill De Blasio, who has sporadically announced rules for all of New York City. And then there are the Broadway theatre owners themselves: The Shuberts and Nederlanders, who, put together, own over half of the Broadway houses, Jujamcyn, which owns another five theatres, Ambassador Theatre Group with two, Disney Theatrical Group, which resides at the New Amsterdam, and a smattering of other not-for-profit companies, which fill out much of the rest of Broadway real estate.

Fortunately for our collective theatergoing sanity, the Broadway League, which represents all 41 Broadway theatres, took the reins on this matter. At the end of July, the Broadway League announced its over-arching Covid safety plan that would apply to every Broadway theatre—at least through the end of October, at which point, protocols may change depending on how we Broadway-loving humans and the folks that surround us are doing on the health front.

A few days after the League released its plan, De Blasio announced his own his city-wide vaccine mandates for restaurants, gyms, and theatres, which would be in full effect by September 13. In a nutshell, De Blasio simply doubled down on what the Broadway League had already decided to enforce—and despite some variety in verbiage, it's the League's rules that the Shuberts, Nederlanders, and other theatre owners have laid out on their various websites and show pages.

So what are the rules?

For all of the Broadway theatres currently operating, it comes down to three pretty easy steps:

Step 1: Be vaccinated. And by vaccinated, the Broadway League means your final dose has had at least 14 days to get your antibodies flowing. Aside from that, it's dealer's choice among this phenomenal list of seven vaccines approved by the WHO.

Step 2: Bring proof that you were vaccinated to the theatre, including a government-issued photo ID so the theatre can prove that your proof is fib-proof (if you're ages 12-18, a school ID is just fine).

Step 3: Wear a mask. Yes, you do have to do this for the whole show, though with the reprieve of in-seat snacking and drinking times (praise be to Bacchus, you will not be denied sustenance during your two hour and forty-five minute odyssey through Moulin Rouge!) But hey, at least now you can sing along and no one will be able to identify the culprit.

What counts as "proof" of vaccination?

Here are your three best options:

1. A physical vaccination card

2. A photo of a physical vaccination card

3. A digital vaccine app (e.g. Excelsior, Docket, NYC Covid Safe, Clear)

[Editor's note: Apps are great and all, but if you don't feel like wrestling with technology, just snap a photo of your card and call it a day.]

What if you can't get vaccinated?

There are three scenarios in which you can enter a Broadway theatre unvaccinated:

1. If you have a medical condition that precludes it

2. If you have a "sincerely held" religious belief that precludes it

3. If you are under the age of 12 and not currently eligible to receive a vaccine

No one will be barricading the doors of the Minskoff with a polygraph machine and a list of questions about your age, medical history, or religious convictions, so use the honor system here.

In all three scenarios, instead of providing proof of vaccination (plus photo ID, unless you're in the under-12 group), you can either…

1. Show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance.

2. Show proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance.

These are the rules that will apply through October 31, so keep your eyes peeled for updates or changes if you're planning your Broadway excursion for after that date. However, if you've scheduled a pre-Halloween homecoming, grab your cell phone, your driver's license, a cozy-yet-fashionable mask, and enough money for an over-priced thematic cocktail, and you're as ready for a night on the Great White Way as you've ever been.

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