Broadway theaters in New York City will make mask wearing optional in July, the Broadway League announced Tuesday. The news comes as theaters and entertainment venues across the country continue to further relax COVID-19 restrictions.
Starting July 1, all 41 Broadway theaters will no longer require audience members to wear masks during shows. Mask wearing is still encouraged, the Broadway League said, but will not be enforced by staff.
“Millions of people enjoyed the unique magic of Broadway by watching the 75th Tony Award Ceremony recently,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement. “Millions more have experienced Broadway LIVE in theatres in New York City and throughout the U.S., since we reopened last fall. We’re thrilled to welcome even more of our passionate fans back to Broadway in the exciting 22-23 season that has just begun.”
When Broadway theaters first reopened in September 2021, theatergoers were required to follow strict safety protocols, including providing proof of full vaccination and wearing masks while inside theaters. As the city’s positivity rates declined, some theaters relaxed their vaccination policies, but mask mandates had remained in place, even as they were discarded in other venues and locations throughout the city.
The League said that COVID-19 safety policies in the theaters will continue to be updated on a month-by-month basis and another update will be announced mid-July.