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The deal, which was announced Thursday, requires vaccination among theaters’ workforce, with an exception for workers who can’t be vaccinated for several reasons, including their age or risks to their health. In addition to vaccinations, there will be weekly COVID testing for employees and venues will be required to have improved HVAC standards. The deal also allows for modifications to the protocols for individual shows or locations where necessary.
“This is an important milestone on the path to getting all our members safely back to work,” Mary McColl, executive director for Actors’ Equity Association, said in a statement. “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 agreement between the national union for professional actors and stage managers working in live theater and the national trade association for the Broadway industry covers safety protocols for both production contract shows on Broadway and in sit-down productions across the country.
“The secure return of our casts, crews and employees is our top priority. 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,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, said.
News of the agreement comes the same day as Pass Over, the first play set to resume performances on Broadway, moves into the August Wilson Theatre for rehearsals. It also follows recent production shutdowns in the U.K. and the West End theater district as the rapid spread of the Delta variant has increased COVID cases across the country.
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