New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that a Broadway Covid-19 vaccination site reserved for theater industry workers will be included in the city’s drive to get the industry back on stage by September.
“This is going to be a year to turn things around,” de Blasio said. “It’s time to raise the curtain and bring Broadway back.” In addition to the Broadway area vaccination site, the city will use a mobile vaccination unit for Off Broadway theater employees, and will establish pop-up testing sites near Broadway venues.
The sites will be staffed by theater workers, many of whom lost their jobs when Broadway went dark on March 12, 2020. The new vaccination sites will open over the next four weeks as statewide vaccine eligibility expands.
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In addition to the vaccination and testing plan, the city will help develop safety protocols for pre- and post-show crowds, Di Blasio said.
The mayor said his announcement was timed to give the industry a six-month heads-up to prepare for reopening.
“Today’s announcement is an important recognition from the City of New York that a strong theatre industry means a healthy, strong economy,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “Mayor de Blasio clearly understands that we cannot socially distance in our work, making the availability of vaccines and testing critical for maintaining a safe workplace.”
McColl said Equity has been communicating with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment about safety on a regular basis throughout the pandemic. “It is clear that we were heard and the city is pushing forward-looking policy changes that will serve the entire theatrical community,” she said.
The Broadway League, which did not participate in today’s De Blasio press conference, has suspended ticket sales through May 30, though an extension is always possible. Before theaters reopen, however, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will need to lift the state’s current restrictions on large indoor gatherings.
The show must go on! Broadway is coming back and New York City is ready. Join us at City Hall. https://t.co/CYUeqJMMNg
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 25, 2021
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