New York City launches drive to vaccinate theater workers

New York City is taking steps to reopen the city’s theaters and creating vaccination and testing sites for stagehands to restore a vital part of New York’s draw

March 25, 2021, 4:39 p.m.

3 min read

NEW YORK – New York City is taking steps to reopen the city’s theaters, creating vaccination and testing sites for stage workers to restore a vital part of the New York draw.

“It’s time to open the curtains and bring Broadway back,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a virtual press conference Thursday. “The work that we must do now to prepare the theater community for this extraordinarily wonderful and important industry to be good for the fall, we must do now.”

The mayor said the city will set up special vaccination sites specifically for the theater community and the theater industry. It will be occupied by workers from the theater industry. The city is also planning a mobile unit to serve off-Broadway theaters and pop-up test sites at or near theaters.

De Blasio said the city needs government guidance on issues such as whether audiences must provide proof of vaccination and whether masks are required.

Broadway producers and the union representing stage actors and stage managers both responded positively to the news.

“Vaccination and testing sites for theater workers are a huge step towards the recovery and restoration of Broadway,” said a Broadway League statement. “Our community has suffered catastrophic losses and the sooner we can return to share our stories in a safe and secure environment.” safer way the better our city will be. “

Mary McColl, executive director of the Actors’ Equity Association, the national union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers, agreed.

“Today’s announcement is a major recognition by the City of New York that a strong theater industry means a healthy, strong economy,” she said in a statement. “It is clear that we have been heard and that the city is driving forward-looking policy changes that will benefit the entire theater community. We are grateful for Mayor de Blasio’s guidance.”

Tony Award winning actor André De Shields attended the meeting with de Blasio and said, “New York is on its way back, but it won’t fully arrive until not just Broadway but all of the theater in this great one City has returned. “

He added, “We are ready. We stayed in shape. Our voices are strong. All we need is a stage and from what you just shared with us, you will take care of it. “

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Associate Press Writer Karen Matthews contributed to this report.

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