As COVID-19 cases increase once again due to the delta variant, some Seattle-area arts organizations, like restaurants before them, are starting to announce vaccine requirements for entry.
On Friday, nonprofit theater operator Seattle Theatre Group said that, starting Aug. 12, it will be requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all performances and events at the Paramount, Moore and Neptune theaters. STG will maintain its current policy of requiring attendees to wear masks, except when eating or drinking. In order to attend performances, guests to the theaters must show proof of full vaccination, along with a valid ticket and ID.
STG is making exceptions to the vaccination rule for children under 12 and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. Those guests must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 24 hours of the performance start time.
The decision on the new policies was made based on information about the delta variant and feedback from patrons and artists, said STG Executive Director Josh LaBelle.
LaBelle said that several artists have made requests for proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests for anyone in the building for their performances.
With over 40 performances and touring events scheduled for September, LaBelle said “managing different protocols for different performances doesn’t seem like a wise move.”
STG’s announcement comes five weeks after Actors Equity, the national theater union of professional actors and stage managers, and the Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, reached an agreement on COVID-19 safety guidelines for touring Broadway shows. The guidelines include mandated vaccines for workers, except those who cannot do so for health or age-related reasons and weekly testing for employees.
Seattle Arts & Lectures sent a similar announcement to subscribers and ticket holders on Friday, informing them that all attendees of in-person SAL events for the 2021-22 season will be required to show proof of vaccination, and that masks will be required for all attendees regardless of vaccination status. SAL’s first in-person event of the season, which will also be streamed online, features author Anthony Doerr (“All the Light You Cannot See”), speaking at Benaroya Hall Sept. 28.
SAL’s new policy does not allow for vaccination exceptions for in-person attendees.
“If you cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19 due to age, medical conditions, religious beliefs, or any other reason, we encourage you to attend our events online,” SAL says in an FAQ on its COVID-19 policies. SAL notes on its website that in-person events will also be streamed and all tickets include digital access.