In response to the surging, highly transmissible omicron coronavirus variant, Washington Improv Theater has announced more stringent vaccine and masking requirements to ensure the highest level of public safety for its students, audiences, artists, staff, and volunteers. Proof of a COVID-19 booster shot will be mandatory for entry to Source Theatre where WIT performs, and medical-grade masks (not cloth masks) will be required.
In August 2021, an ad hoc coalition of DC-area theaters began requiring patrons to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to wear masks inside the theater, except while eating or drinking in designated locations. (See “DMV theaters unite to require proof of COVID vaccination.“) Those requirements were recently extended through March 2022.
WIT is the first local performing company to tighten its COVID-19 safety protocols to specify booster shots and quality of mask.
Explained WIT Operations Manager Jordana Mishory, the staff member who got the conversation started about increasing WIT’s protocols: “The safety of our community remains our number one priority. And as we have been tracking the developing news around the omicron variant, it became clear that the measures we had in place, while appropriate for delta, were not rigorous enough for the new variant. Because scientists and health officials stressed the importance of booster shots and medical-grade masks, we felt obliged to step up protocols for our community.”
Artistic/Executive Director Mark Chalfant adds, “Our new protocols are calibrated for our programming, primarily small 12-person classes and an audience of 75 people in a small black box theater. The situation is extremely fluid and could change any day, so we will remain aware and responsive. When reflecting on our organizational values, heightening our COVID protocols was the right thing to do for our performers and teachers, and for the people who want to see our shows and take our classes.”
Additionally, WIT is encouraging its performers to take a rapid at-home test before stepping on stage maskless.
Mandating Booster Shots
WIT will now require all students, performers, faculty, volunteers, staff, and audience members to receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot by Sunday, January 30, 2022 — or 30 days after becoming eligible for a booster, whichever is later. (According to the CDC, all adults are eligible for a booster shot six months after their second shot of Moderna or Pfizer and two months after their first shot of Johnson & Johnson.) Performers and audience members will need to show their vaccine proof at the door.
Requiring Better Masks
Medical experts report that cloth masks do not provide enough protection in the face of omicron, so WIT will be requiring medical-grade (or better) masks while in attendance at shows, classes, workshops, jams, and other inside events. While recommending well-fitting KN95 or N95 masks, WIT will be requiring at least a medical-grade mask to enter the premises. Masks must be worn over the mouth and nose while inside the building. Cloth masks will be prohibited unless being used to double-mask. And concessions will remain closed at all performances to ensure masks remain on.
About Washington Improv Theater
Washington Improv Theater is dedicated to unleashing the creative, collaborative power of improv in DC. WIT is DC’s premiere arts organization showcasing and advancing the art form of improvisational theatre with over 200 artists, 30 instructors, 1,000 students, and 14,000 audience members engaging annually in performances and classes. WIT is a multi-tiered arts organization: a producing organization exploring and forwarding the craft of long-form improv in challenging new directions; a presenting organization allowing improvisers from across the country to share their artistry with DC audiences; a community organization serving a rapidly growing family of improv artists. WIT is the place for improv in DC.
More information about WIT’s COVID safety protocols is here.