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Broadway theaters drop their mask mandate starting in July

The Broadway League, which represents Broadway producers, says the policy will “be evaluated on a monthly basis as we continue to monitor the science.”

NEW YORK — In another sign that the world of entertainment is returning to pre-pandemic normal, Broadway theaters will no longer demand audiences wear masks starting in July.

The Broadway League announced Tuesday that mask-wearing will be optional next month onward, a further loosening of restrictions. In May, most Broadway theaters lifted the requirement that audience members provide proof of vaccination to enter venues.

The latest policy will “be evaluated on a monthly basis as we continue to monitor the science,” according to a statement by the League, which represents Broadway producers. It also said that “audience members are still encouraged to wear masks in theaters.” Producers have long complained that ticket sales may be depressed due to the mask ban.

Actors' Equity Association, which represents 51,000 stage actors and stage managers, did not have a reaction to the change.

Tuesday's announcement came just hours before a performance of "Come From Away" on Broadway had to be cancelled due to "the detection of breakthrough COVID-19 cases within the company."

Back in April, "Plaza Suite" had to cancel a week of performances after Matthew Broderick tested positive for COVID-19 and a few days later his wife and co-star, Sarah Jessica Parker, also tested positive.

Last week, the Tony Awards celebrated the heroic efforts of understudies, swings and standbys to keep shows going throughout pandemic spikes. Host Ariana DeBose noted that she and many other Tony nominees had once been unheralded understudies and swings. After the cast of “Six” performed, DeBose noted that one was a fill-in at the last minute. 

   

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
FILE - Broadway posters appear outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre during Covid-19 lockdown in New York on May 13, 2020.

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