We all know WHAT Broadway is doing in response to COVID. It’s been the source of numerous press releases, tweets and other social posts. But practically speaking, HOW are they doing it? How can you possibly check the credentials of every person in your line without backing the line up from here until tomorrow? I interviewed David Andrews, Senior Vice President of Shubert Ticketing (a division of the Shubert Organization) to find out what he knew.
As a quick recap of recent news, the Broadway League (the National Trade Association for the Broadway Theatre Industry) published a press release on July 30 that was agreed to by the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City. Mr. Andrews was able to clarify for me how these requirements will play out.
1. Proof of vaccination is required for all audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew and theatre staff, for all performances through October 2021.
2.Masks will be required for all patrons inside the theater, regardless of vaccine status, except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
3. Exceptions to the vaccine requirement are made for children under 12 and for people who for medical reasons or due to closely held religious beliefs are unable to be vaccinated.
4.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. Simple and generous return or exchange policies give patrons the confidence to buy their tickets in advance rather than waiting until the last minute and give them the ability to STAY HOME if they are feeling sick without fear of losing their money. Keep looking for ways to help your patrons feel safe!
5.Additionally, Covid disclosures and requirements must be agreed to before tickets can be purchased. Ample messaging is available on both ticketing and venue websites.
I’d like to thank Mr. Andrews for the generous gift of his time as we talked through these scenarios. For those of you in smaller venues, or not part of the Broadway scene, I hope this information will shed some light or give you some ideas about how to make your venues safe for your Patrons, staff and talent during these tumultuous times. All parties involved need to understand that their safety and well-being is our number one concern if live theatre is to be able to stay open through the next wave of the pandemic.