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Broadway has extended its mask mandate through June 30, officials announced Friday.
The Broadway League said operators of all 41 theatres in New York City will require masks for one more month, but policies for mandates in July and beyond will be decided at some point in June.
Sarah Jessica Parker greets attendees during curtain call for her new play “Plaza Suite” on opening night in New York, March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
“We’re thrilled that nearly a quarter of a million people are attending Broadway shows weekly in this exciting spring season,” President of The Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement. “As always, the safety and security of our cast, crew, and audience has been our top priority.
“By maintaining our audience masking requirement through at least the month of June, we intend to continue that track record of safety for all, despite the Omicron subvariants,” she added.
The decision comes as New York City reported its highest COVID caseload since January this week.
The spike in cases appears to be from a new subvariant of the omicron strain, titled BA.2.12.1, which is believed to be at least 25 percent more contagious.
The descendant omicron strain accounts for roughly 80 percent of the current COVID positive cases reported in New York City, according to local news outlets.
The strain appears to be largely plaguing states in the northeastern sector of the U.S., with areas like southern California and Arizona having reported relatively few cases.
FILE – Broadway posters hang outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre during Covid-19 lockdown in New York on May 13, 2020. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Mask mandates have been a hot button issue for months, particularly on the Broadway scene as the theater industry is one of the last holdouts in New York City to require masks.
Patti LuPone, star of “Company,” made headlines last week after she yelled at an audience member to pull their mask up over their nose or leave the theater.
Vaccine mandates to attend the shows were lifted earlier this month in most theaters.