Broadway will require its workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 under newly agreed upon safety protocols.
The Actors’ Equity Association, which represents stage managers and actors, and the Broadway League have reached an agreement on new safety protocols for theater productions across the country, including a vaccine mandate and weekly testing for employees.
The deal comes as Broadway theaters prepare to reopen their doors and the U.S. faces a new surge in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
Additional provisions under the agreement include improved ventilation standards for theaters and allowance for modifications to protocols “where necessary for individual shows or locations.” The vaccine mandate also carves out an exception for “those who cannot do so for reasons such as age or risks to their health.”
“This is an important milestone on the path to getting all our members safely back to work,” said Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association. “We are grateful to the League for their partnership on these protocols. We all feel this plan is robust, adaptable to changing conditions and in line with the science. Vaccines work, and those who are vaccinated will protect both themselves and those who can’t be at this time.”
“The secure return of our casts, crews and employees is our top priority,” Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin said. “The Broadway League and Equity, faced with ever-changing COVID related variables, have agreed on health and safety protocols for actors and stage managers returning to Broadway. We will continue to partner with our union colleagues as we work together towards raising all of our curtains again.”
On Wednesday, Netflix became the first Hollywood studio to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. productions as allowed under the industry’s newly revised return to work agreement.