Mayor announces plan to vaccinate theater workers ahead of Broadway reopening

A man walks past the shuttered Richard Rodgers Theatre, home of the popular musical "Hamilton", in New York, U.S., July 2, 2020.
REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city will launch a  vaccination effort to inoculate theater employees, in order to ensure the industry can come back full force in the fall.

The city will host dedicated vaccination sites for those working in the industry in the coming weeks, as well as pop-up sites near theatres. 

“This is going to be a year to turn things around, and our artists, our performers, our cultural community are going to lead the way and encourage people and inspire people,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “It’s time to raise the curtain and bring people back.”

The effort will include a dedicated vaccination site on Broadway for theater professionals who qualify for the vaccine, a mobile vaccination unit for off-Broadway workers, pop-up Covid testing sites near theaters, and a plan to manage crowds once theaters reopen. 

Theaters, which employ over 100,000 in New York City, are allowed to reopen at 33 percent capacity starting in April under guidance set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The mayor says he wants theaters up and running at full capacity by the fall. 

De Blasio called on state officials to assist them in reopening the industry by issuing clear guidelines on how reopened theaters should operate.

“I’m calling upon the state to please, quickly issue clear guidance for theater workers, in terms of mask usage, in terms of how we use proof of vaccination, or proof of negative testing to help ensure that everyone can work and crowds can come back in the fall,” de Blasio said. “We need clear delineation on how to keep workers and performers safe.”

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