The Broadway League, which represents theater homeowners and producers throughout the nation, introduced Tuesday that each one 41 theaters on Broadway will go “mask optional” for the month of July.
In a press release, Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, stated viewers members had been nonetheless inspired to put on masks, however wouldn’t be required to starting July 1. The coverage will be re-evaluated on a month-to-month foundation going ahead.
“Hundreds of thousands of folks loved the distinctive magic of Broadway by watching the seventy fifth Tony Award Ceremony not too long ago,” St. Martin said. “Hundreds of thousands extra have skilled Broadway LIVE in theatres in New York Metropolis and all through the U.S., since we reopened final fall. We’re thrilled to welcome much more of our passionate followers again to Broadway in the thrilling 22-23 season that has simply begun.”
The Broadway League added that it expects to update people on masking rules for August by mid-July.
The Broadway League announcement did not specify a reason for the policy change. It comes as Mayor Eric Adams and Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan also announced Tuesday that the city’s COVID-19 risk alert had been downgraded from “excessive” to “medium.” Under the new designation, however, the department offers this guidance on mask-wearing: “Put on a face masks in public indoor settings the place vaccine standing will not be recognized.”
The number of new cases per 100,000 people is “secure” at 240.4, according to the city.
There are currently 27 shows running at the 41 theaters on Broadway.
Back at the start of May, most Broadway theaters dropped their vaccine requirements for audience members.
Since Broadway reopened in the fall of 2021, multiple productions have been affected by COVID outbreaks, with several individual performances canceled and some shows permanently closed.
This month alone, high profile stars including The Music Man’s Hugh Jackman and Funny Girl’s Beanie Feldstein have missed shows because they tested positive for COVID-19.
As Gothamist reported this month, hundreds of Broadway’s custodians, elevator operators and restroom attendants, who have not received pay increases despite new job demands during COVID, are currently engaged in a contract battle with theater owners.
Martha Aristizabal, who has worked for the Shubert company for over 12 years, currently works at the Ambassador Theater as a custodian in the morning and manager’s assistant during shows in the evenings. She said that she and other workers have lived in “fixed worry” of getting sick because of their proximity to so many people.
“We go into work on a regular basis and see folks getting sick: not simply in the outdoors world, additionally our coworkers,” she said in Spanish via a translator.
She added that one of the only things that gave her some comfort was the fact that theaters were strict about people wearing masks during performances. Part of her responsibilities has been making sure people keep their masks on.
“Proper now the job is loads tougher as a result of of the quantity of disinfecting and cleansing now we have to do as a result of of COVID protocols,” she said. “And it is also extremely difficult to guarantee that viewers members are sporting their masks correctly and regularly all through the present.”