Tony Nominations 2022 Live Updates: Nominees Are Being Announced as Broadway Honors Its Comeback Season
Most Broadway theaters have stopped checking vaccination status but all still require masks.Credit…John Taggart for The New York Times
A man had his photo I.D. out and in his hand as walked up to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater on Broadway to see “Come From Away,” but no one checked it. The families streaming in to see “The Lion King” were told to have their tickets out and their masks on, but there was no mention of vaccine cards. And the Covid safety officers in neon yellow vests who used to patrol outside “Six” were gone.
Most Broadway theaters stopped checking the vaccination status of their patrons last week for the first time since they began to reopen last summer, easing safety protocols the same week rising coronavirus cases placed New York City into a higher risk level.
The industry hopes that doing away with vaccine checks — which have also been eliminated at New York City restaurants, movie theaters and other venues — will make theatergoing more attractive, and that the remaining mask mandate will help keep audiences safe as cases have risen, but hospitalizations and deaths remain low.
While some patrons welcomed the change, others said they felt uneasy about going into crowded theaters without the assurance that their seatmates were vaccinated, and several nonprofit Broadway theaters continue to require proof of vaccination.
“I just don’t feel as safe as I have the past several months,” said Lauren Broyles, 44, an executive assistant from Hershey, Pa., who visited New York to see shows several times last winter but said she had stopped planning a summer theater trip after reading that Broadway dropped its vaccine mandate. “I’m waiting to hear what’s next.”
But Michael Anderson, 48, of Hudson, N.Y., who was standing in line the other day to see “Hangmen,” said he thought that while vaccine checks had made sense earlier, he felt they were no longer necessary. “At this point, I’m vaccinated and boosted,” he said.
— Matt Stevens and Rachel Sherman