When Broadway returns in the fall, theater industry workers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Actors’ Equity Association and the Broadway League on Thursday announced an agreement on safety protocols for reopening venues on the Great White Way and around the U.S. Key provisions include improved HVAC standards, mandated vaccines for the workforce (with the exception of those who cannot do so for age or health reasons) and weekly testing for employees. The pact comes as “Pass Over,” the first Broadway play scheduled to resume performances, moves into the August Wilson Theatre for rehearsals.
“This is an important milestone on the path to getting all our members safely back to work,” said Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association, the union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers working in live theater. “We are grateful to the League for their partnership on these protocols. We all feel this plan is robust, adaptable to changing conditions and in line with the science. Vaccines work, and those who are vaccinated will protect both themselves and those who can’t be at this time.”
During the pandemic, the Actors’ Equity Association fought for testing and a vaccination site in New York to help bring back the theater district. Broadway has been dark since March 12, 2020 and has struggled to rebound because its theaters require sold-out shows in tightly packed venues to operate profitably. Broadway plans to reopen to full capacity on Sept. 14.
“The secure return of our casts, crews and employees is our top priority. The Broadway League and Equity, faced with ever-changing COVID related variables, have agreed on health and safety protocols for actors and stage managers returning to Broadway. We will continue to partner with our union colleagues as we work together towards raising all of our curtains again,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry.