Broadway has announced that only vaccinated guests will be allowed to attend shows and Disney said all its employees will be required to get shots as businesses across the country take precautions with the Indian ‘Delta’ variant raging.
The Broadway League announced its mandatory vaccination rule on Friday requiring all customers wishing to return to its world famous theaters to provide proof of vaccination – and to wear a mask for the duration of shows.
All performers, backstage crew and theater staff will also have to be vaccinated, the Broadway League said in a statement.
The Walt Disney Company announced a similar rule hours later, requiring all its salaried and non-union employees get vaccinated before returning to work at any of its sites across the country.
Employees who haven’t yet taken the shot and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to get fully vaccinated, while employees working from home will need to provide proof of vaccination before they return, the company said. All new hires will also be required to be fully vaccinated before they start employment.
The company said it was taking the move as a way to prioritize ‘the safety and well-being of our employees’ with vaccines being ‘the best tool’ to control the virus.
Meanwhile, the organizers of this year’s Emmy awards also announced that only vaccinated guests will be able to attend the star-studded bash.
The announcements mark just the latest in a growing list of vaccine mandates and policies being rolled out across America as the spread of the Delta variant is pushing COVID-19 cases up again.
With organizations, businesses and governments introducing policies for both their staff and customers in recent days, unvaccinated Americans will soon be unable to attend numerous events and places.
Anti-vaccine mandate protesters outside the Walter Kerr Theater in June after it was announced that only jabbed customers could attend Bruce Springsteen’s residency. Broadway announced this week that only vaccinated guests can attend its shows
Broadway’s rules will be in place through October and will apply to all of the district’s 41 theaters.
Masks will be required except while eating or drinking in designated locations, the Broadway League added.
‘A uniform policy across all New York City Broadway theatres makes it simple for our audiences and should give even more confidence to our guests about how seriously Broadway is taking audience safety,’ said president Charlotte St. Martin.
The body said it would make exceptions for children under 12 – a group not currently eligible for vaccines – and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination.
Those guests must provide proof of a negative test to get in.
The Broadway League said it would review the vaccination policy in September for performances in November and beyond, adding that it may implement ‘a relaxation of certain provisions if the science dictates.’
Broadway, which closed when coronavirus first swept New York in spring last year, is due to fully reopen in September.
Some theaters have already crept back to life, including the Walter Kerr Theater, which is currently hosting a Bruce Springsteen residency.
Guests attending Springsteen on Broadway – which re-started on June 26, and runs until September 4 – must show proof of vaccination to enter but they do not have to wear a mask.
The Walt Disney Company announced it is requiring all its salaried and non-union employees to get vaccinated before returning to work at any of its US sites
The show Pass Over also requires its audiences to be vaccinated.
Springsteen’s residency re-started as NYC lifted almost all COVID rules, including forcing people to wear face masks in almost all public settings.
Since then, a fresh spike in cases caused by the Indian Delta variant has shaken government and state officials.
The Broadway League’s announcement comes after New York’s Metropolitan Opera announced on Tuesday that it would require all audiences and performers to be vaccinated for its upcoming season.
Broadway was among the hardest hit of New York’s industries, when it shuttered on March 12 2020 as the pandemic ramped up.
It marked its first closure since 9/11 for the Big Apple’s biggest source of tourism.
The city lost around 66 per cent of its 93,500 arts-and-entertainment jobs – many of those on Broadway after the closure of theaters.
Other industries were also shattered by the closure of the district.
Hundreds of Midtown Manhattan hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops closed as tourists stayed away from the city, with many shuttering permanently as a result.
Other businesses and industries keen to avoid an outbreak that could force them to shut once again are also introducing vaccine mandates for workers and customers.
Game of Thrones’ cast accepts the Outstanding Drama Series award onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards in 2019. Emmys organizers the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said only ‘fully vaccinated’ people will be able to attend its three ceremonies in September
The 2020 Emmys above which saw stars remotely accepting awards. Stars hoping to take home an award in 2021 must have had their one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna shot at least 14 days beforehand
Emmys organizers the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said only ‘fully vaccinated’ people will be able to attend its three ceremonies scheduled for September 11, 12 and 19.
That means stars hoping to take home an award must have had their one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna shot at least 14 days beforehand, to ensure they have maximum protection from potential infection.
It is unclear if the Emmys will also expect guests to wear masks.
Meanwhile, Facebook and Google were among the latest companies this week to announce they will require their employees get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to in-person work.
Facebook said it would leave room for exceptions and different situations in its vaccine requirement.
‘How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations. We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves,’ Lori Goler, Facebook’s vice president of people, wrote in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
Performers at ‘A moment for Broadway’ – a volunteer event – in Times Square, NYC, in October. NYC theatergoers will also have to wear masks for shows
The Broadway League says people who attend shows will be allowed to lower their face masks to eat and drink. The set of Moulin Rouge at the Al Hirschfield Theater is pictured in July 2019
Around half of the social media platform’s 58,000 employees are expected to be working remotely when the offices open in October.
Google on Wednesday also said it was mandating its employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to campuses beginning in mid-October.
The date was delayed by a month due to the surge in cases nationwide fueled by the Indian Delta variant, the company announced.
Employers also requiring vaccinations among staff include BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lyft and Netflix.
Private businesses are taking matters into their own hands following encouragement from officials who have introduced similar policies for government workers.
New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that all state workers get the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo frequent testing.
Cuomo said the state’s roughly 250,000 government workers have until Labor Day – September 6 – to get vaccinated or face weekly testing to continue working in their public sector jobs.
Frontline healthcare workers at state-run hospitals, meanwhile, will have no choice but to get the shot in order to work, he said.
Those employees, at hospitals across areas including Syracuse, New York City and Long Island, will not be able to opt for testing as an alternative to getting the jab.
Cuomo admitted this was an ‘aggressive step’ but said ‘we need dramatic action to get control of this situation’ as cases have surged 400 percent since the end of June.
The governor also called on private businesses to order their employees back to the office by Labor Day and to only allow vaccinated customers into bars, restaurants and theaters in a move to ‘incentivize’ more New Yorkers to get vaccinated.
‘You can admit vaccinated only people into your establishment.
‘I can argue that it is a smart business practice, because I want to go to a safe restaurant,’ Cuomo said.
‘And it will be an incentive for people to actually get the vaccine. And I urge you all to do it.’
New Yorkers must still wear masks while on the city’s public transport network, and in healthcare settings.
Meanwhile, California and New York City also announced similar policies for employees earlier this week.
President Joe Biden said Thursday federal government workers must either get vaccinated or face strict protocols.
Starting September 13, all city employees in the Big Apple will be required to either get a vaccine or take a test every week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
This expanded the existing requirement from just requiring Health and Human Services and those in ‘congregate and residential settings’ to get vaccinated or take a test each week.
Workers now covered by the policy include those that work for the Department of Education and the New York Police Department.
De Blasio also said that the unvaccinated will be required to wear masks at all times indoors and that anyone who refuses to wear a mask may be put on leave.
California has said it will similarly require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for all state workers and millions of public- and private-sector health care employees starting next month.
On a federal level, Joe Biden announced Thursday a series of new measures to try to boost vaccination rates.
He issued a new policy for federal government workers, requiring all staffers and on-site contractors to either get vaccinated or face strict protocols.
These include weekly or twice weekly testing, wearing a face mask, social distancing from other employees and visitors and being subject to restrictions on official travel.
Biden also would not rule out a national mandate, saying: ‘It’s still a question of whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don’t know that yet.’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured Wednesday) mandated that all state workers must get the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo frequent testing
Google on Wednesday informed its more than 130,000 employees that they would all be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to the office in mid-October. The image above shows Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters
The Department of Veterans Affairs also announced it will require frontline health care workers to be vaccinated over the course of the next two months while a growing number of hospitals and nursing homes across the US have already implemented their own vaccine mandates.
In light of a recent opinion by the Department of Justice, it is likely more businesses and agencies will follow suit.
The DOJ issued an opinion confirming federal law does not ban public or private employers from requiring workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for more private businesses and public agencies to issue mandates.
Officials are hoping the mandates will incentivize more Americans to get the shot with the Delta variant spreading and cases rising.
The Biden administration has termed the renewed outbreak a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ as the vast majority of cases, deaths and hospitalizations are among people who have refused the shot.
Now, 57 percent of Americans have had at least one dose while 49 percent are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.
Meanwhile, the CDC backpedaled on its mask guidance Tuesday, recommending fully vaccinated Americans return to wearing masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates, as officials warn that the Delta variant may be more infectious than first thought – even among the vaccinated.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday that the turnaround comes after new research shows vaccinated people can spread the Delta variant just as much as unvaccinated people.
Research shows, she said, that people infected with so-called breakthrough infections – where they become infected despite being vaccinated – of the new strain carry high amounts of the virus in the nose and throat making them just as contagious.
Health officials are expected to release the findings Friday.
An internal federal health document obtained by The Washington Post reported that the Delta variant was as infectious as chickenpox or Ebola – with each infected person passing the virus to eight or nine others, on average.
The original lineage was about as transmissible as the common cold, with each infected person passing it to about two others, on average.
On Wednesday, the US recorded 68,771 new cases with a seven-day rolling average of 63,842, which is a 322 percent increase from the 15,126 average recorded three weeks ago.
Deaths are not rising at the same rate – which experts say is due to the vaccine – with 387 virus-related deaths and a rolling average of 281 recorded, which is 27 percent higher than the 220 three weeks prior.
In most states, COVID-19 fatalities have plateaued with a death rate below 1.0 per 100,000 – proving the effectiveness of vaccines.
But in recent virus hot spots – such as Arkansas, Florida and Missouri, deaths are finally increasing behind cases due to the spread of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant with some at their highest since February.
Some U.S. employers are requiring workers to get vaccinated, while others are offering incentives to encourage shots
City of New York
Delta Air Lines (for new employees)
Saks Fifth Avenue
State of California
State of New York
United Airlines (for new employees)
The Washington Post Co.
OFFERING INCENTIVES FOR EMPLOYEES TO GET VACCINES:
ALDI groceries (Paid time off and adjusted hours to get vaccinated)
Amazon ($100 bonus for workers who show proof of vaccination on first day of employment)
Amtrak (two hours of bonus pay and excused absence)
American Airlines (additional paid vacation day in 2022 and a $50 bonus)
Bolthouse Farms ($500 bonus with proof of vaccination or if they get shot at on-site clinic)
Chobani (up to six hours of paid time off for employees to go get vaccinated)
Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden (four hours of paid time off to cover both doses of the vaccine)
Dollar General (one-time stipend equal to four hours of paid time off)
Instacart ($25 stipend to in-store employees and independent contractors)
JBS USA and Pilgrim’s ($100 bonus)
Kroger ($100 bonus with proof of vaccination as well as $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points for essential and frontline staffers)
Lidl ($200 bonus and scheduling flexibility for vaccination appointments)
McDonald’s (up to four hours of paid time off to get the vaccine)
Publix ($125 gift cards for employees who show proof of vaccination)
Starbucks (up to four hours of paid time off for vaccine dosage appointments)
Target (up to four hours of paid time off per vaccine dosage and a $30 reimbursement for using a Lyft to get to their appointment)
Trader Joe’s (additional two hours of pay for each dose and scheduling flexbility)