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Actors' Equity Puts More COVID-19 Safety Guidelines In Place In Effort To Return To Work

Published Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Actors' Equity Puts More COVID-19 Safety Guidelines In Place In Effort To Return To Work

(NEW YORK CITY) - It may be some time before anyone can take in a Broadway show or enjoy an indoor performance at a theater, but there are steps underway to make sure that this can happen again in the future.

A vaccination center is expected to open for Broadway Workers in the heart of New York’s Theater District.

“I think it’s a really positive development,” says Actors' Equity Association President and Actor Kate Shindle.

Actors' Equity is the Union that represents more than 50,000 Actors and Stage Managers.

Shindle says expanded access to the COVID-19 vaccine is a game-changer in the theater’s unconventional work environment: “I have said many times it may be the only industry I can think of where it is not only legal, but totally expected to have to kiss your Co-Worker as a condition of your job.  So it is an incredibly difficult undertaking to make theater COVID-proof.”

The Union has laid out a new set of COVID-19 Safety Protocols that venues employing Equity Members who are fully vaccinated must follow.

The impact goes far beyond Broadway and includes more than 20 professional theaters in New Jersey and many more nationally.

The protocols include employers having at least one COVID Safety Officer on site to ensure compliance, testing protocols for Staff, certain ventilation standards - and for now, no stage door or backstage visits with performers, among other measures.

The move follows a recent letter to Union Leaders by some Members frustrated over the pace of COVID policy updates that they believe hold back work opportunities, including older Actors and Actors who have sick children or a pregnant partner.

The new protocols are in effect through at least the end of June according to the Union, when they will be revisited based on current conditions.

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