New COVID-19 safety protocol now in effect in NYC for indoor entertainment and activities

On Monday, August 16, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued Emergency Executive Order 225, requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all indoor entertainment, recreation, dining, and fitness settings, to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and to avert death and serious illness. Those rules went into effect citywide today, Tuesday, August 17.

Broadway. Photo by Deb Miller.

What that means for audiences attending live in-person theater, cabaret, concerts, and other events in the performing arts both on and off Broadway, in Manhattan and across all five boroughs, is that all ticketholders will be required to show proof of an FDA or WHO authorized COVID-19 vaccination, administered in full at least fourteen days prior to the performance date, along with a photo ID, before being admitted into the venue.

This comes in accordance with the previous announcement from The Broadway League that all 41 Broadway theaters will require vaccinations for audiences, performers, backstage crew, and house staff for all performances through October 2021. Masks will also be required for audiences inside the theater, except while actively eating or drinking in designated locations.

Theatergoers who like to enjoy a pre- or post-show meal or beverage are also required to present proof of vaccinations and photo IDs at all indoor NYC restaurants, bars, and other dining and drinking establishments (outdoor service is exempt).

In addition, as stated in the Mayor’s Executive Order, those businesses must “post a sign in a conspicuous place that is viewable by prospective patrons prior to entering the establishment. The sign must alert patrons to the vaccination requirement in this Order and inform them that employees and patrons are required to be vaccinated,” so that there is no mistake about safety protocol, and those who are not in compliance with the requirements should not, and will not be permitted to, enter.

The Order also states that, beginning on Monday, September 13, 2021, “any person or entity who is determined to have violated this Order shall be subject to a fine, penalty, and forfeiture of not less than $1,000,” which will increase to $2,000 for a second violation within a twelve-month period, and to $5,000 for every violation thereafter within a calendar year.

Recent statistics show that 56% of NYC residents are fully vaccinated, and 62% have received at least one dose. A study by Yale University demonstrated that the City’s vaccination campaign is estimated to have prevented approximately 250,000 COVID-19 cases, 44,000 hospitalizations, and 8,300 deaths from COVID-19 infection through July 1, 2021, and that from January 1-June 15, 2021, over 98% of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 infection involved those who were not fully vaccinated.


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