Broadway shows in New York City will implement a “mask-optional” policy in theaters

Viewers will no longer have to dress up to attend Broadway shows in New York City, the Broadway League announced.

The new policy, set to take effect on July 1, changes the months-long requirement that owners and operators of Broadway’s 41 theaters have adhered to since they reopened last summer, after closing their doors on March 12, 2020 due to occupancy the then rampant and new type of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Millions of people enjoyed the unique magic of Broadway while watching the 75th Tony Awards recently. Millions more have witnessed Broadway LIVE in theaters in New York City and across the United States since we reopened last fall,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, in a prepared statement.

“We are thrilled to welcome even more of our passionate fans back to Broadway in the exciting 22-23 season that has just begun.”

Masking guidelines for August and beyond will be reassessed monthly, the league said, and despite the removal of requirements, they continue to encourage viewers to continue wearing masks in theaters.

The announcement that the mask policy will become optional comes as lockdowns are loosening across the city, although health officials said they are currently experiencing a “high level of COVID alert,” meaning increased transmission of the virus.

“The NYC Health Commissioner is now advising all New Yorkers to wear a mask in all indoor public places,” the city government says on its Covid-19 homepage. People who are “over the age of 65 or otherwise at high risk of serious illness” from Covid-19 are advised to wear a mask in “crowded outdoor settings” and avoid gatherings where possible.

Masks are still required on public transit, although recent figures from New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority suggest compliance with this guideline is at one of the lowest levels since the pandemic began.

According to a May release from the MTA, just 64 percent of subway riders used masks correctly in April, the lowest compliance the agency has tracked since data collection began in the summer of 2020.

After April 30, Broadway said they would drop the requirement to check theatergoers’ vaccination status, while other Off-Broadway shows across the city decided to maintain both mask and vaccination measures. Broadway shows in New York City will implement a “mask-optional” policy in theaters


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