(Photo: Roman Rvachov/Shutterstock)
Broadway has long been itching to reopen, and now Actors’ Equity Association is bringing theaters one step closer to a returned normalcy. AEA is ending its mandate for testing and mask-wearing of fully vaccinated company members at some theaters across the United States.
“The health and safety of our members come first,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity. “We are heartened by the declining infection rates nationwide because so many people have done their part and gotten vaccinated. As such, it will now be a smoother and less expensive process for employers to recall our members to work. We still need to be diligent about the virus, but we are very hopeful for the months ahead.”
As of Friday, July 2, these new guidelines are instated for productions that play in a single venue and have a fully vaccinated company. The union also agreed with the League of Resident Theatres, mapping out a flexible safety plan depending on the vaccination status of the more variable company. Beyond LORT, the protocols do not apply to Broadway, Off-Broadway, or national tour productions under the Broadway League’s purview.
While mask-wearing is no longer required under these protocols, other safety measures are, including increasing cleaning, a ventilation test for airflow in theaters and studio spaces, and the hiring of a COVID-19 safety officer. These protocols cover productions that will run from July 1 through September 30, 2021. As for whether Equity members are required to be vaccinated, that is a decision the union is leaving up to individual theaters.