Want to go to a Broadway show or Carnegie Hall? Get ready to show Covid vaccination proof

Key Points
  • The Broadway League announced Friday that audience members, performers, backstage crew and theater staff must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19.
  • Young children, those with medical conditions or religious beliefs that prevent vaccinations may still attend if they show proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
  • The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall also will require guests to be vaccinated.
Broadway puts mask and vaccination requirements in place

If you want to attend a live performance in New York, get ready to show proof you have received your Covid shots.

The Broadway League announced Friday that the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City will require audience members, performers, backstage crew and theater staff to be fully vaccinated through October.

Young children or those with medical conditions or religious beliefs that prevent vaccinations may still attend shows if they have proof of a negative Covid-19 test. They will need a PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time or a negative antigen test taken within 6 hours of performance start time in order to be admitted.

"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," said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League.

A exterior view of the Palace Theatre at the opening night of "West Side Story" on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on March 19, 2009 in New York City.
Neilson Barnard | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Audiences inside the theater will also be required to wear masks except while eating or drinking in designated areas.

In September, the league will review this policy for performances beginning in November.

The Metropolitan Opera will also require guests, artists, orchestra, chorus, and staff to show proof of vaccination, but face masks will be optional. The opera will ban children under the age of 12 from attending performances.

"The Met policy says that masks will be optional, this could change depending on the prevalent health situation at the time. Also, unlike Broadway, we will allow absolutely no exceptions to the vaccinated only policy," a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Opera said in an email.

Guests will need to show proof of vaccination at their time of entry into the theater and they must be fully-vaccinated with a FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine. This means guests must wait at least two weeks after their final shots to attend a performance.

Carnegie Hall will also be requiring proof of vaccination from all guests, artists, staff and visitors and they will ban children under the age of 12 from attending performances, it said in a statement.

Younger children are not yet eligible for the Covid vaccine.

The new requirements come as the delta variant spreads rapidly across the country, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance encouraging people to begin wearing masks again in areas of the country where there are rises in cases, even if they have been vaccinated. This was a reversal of the agency's earlier policy.

The CDC is warning that the delta variant is as contagious as the chickenpox and could be making people more sick than the original Covid.

Broadway will begin reopening its doors to full capacity audiences on Sept. 14, after being shut down since March 2020. New York City has lost billions in tourism dollars as live performances were halted on Broadway, at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

The industry received aid from the government through a program called the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, which allocated $16.2 billion to help keep the entertainment industry throughout the country alive until performances could return to normal safely.

The increase in Covid cases due to the delta variant comes at a precarious time for the industry, which has been investing to rehire performers and other workers in preparation for the restart of performances.