NJ theaters to require COVID-19 vaccination, masks for performances
New Jersey theaters have teamed up for a unified COVID-19 vaccination requirement to attend performances when they reopen for performances in the fall.
The "Opening Night, Opening Right" program of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance the will offer the option of a negative COVID test for those who are not vaccinated and the requirement of wearing a mask inside venues at all times.
"We pledge to protect the health and safety of all who come through our doors, onto our stages, and work within our organizations," the Alliance said in a statement.
The theaters will be able to implement their own policies but will follow basic protocols like deep cleaning and disinfecting before all performances, clearly communicating mask policy, making contactless transactions available, offer a health screening before entry and have sanitation stations for all patrons and staff.
A flexible ticket policy will be offered for anyone feeling ill or at risk due to COVID-19 variants.
"Working with our dedicated New Jersey Theatre Alliance medical advisor, we’ve made a pledge to our audiences, performers and staff to put safety front and center," the Alliance said on it website.
The Alliance also asked theatergoers to take a five point "the theater lover's pledge" before attending an event.
The pledge includes following all theater safety guidelines, respecting theatre personnel and other guests at an event, staying home if an individual is not feeling well, informing the theatre if testing positive for COVID after attending a show and visiting a venue's website before an event for the latest safety guidelines.
The mask and vaccination requirements are similar to the requirement adopted by New Jersey concert venues with the exception of MetLife Stadium which is not requiring masks or proof of vaccination for Giants and Jets games. Other events may have their own protocols in place.
Participating theaters include
- American Theatre Group
- Art House Productions
- Atlantic City Theatre Company
- Axelrod Performing Arts Center
- Bucks County Playhouse
- Cape May Stage
- Centenary Stage Company
- The Company Theatre Group
- Crossroads Theatre Company -
- Eagle Theatre -
- East Lynne Theater Company -
- Elizabeth Youth Theater Company
- Epic Actors’ Workshop - (in residence at NBPAC)
- George Street Playhouse -(in residence at NBPAC)
- The Growing Stage: The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey
- Hudson Theatre Works
- Jersey City Theater Center -
- Luna Stage Company -
- McCarter Theatre Center -
- The Meta Theatre Company -
- Mile Square Theatre
- The New Jersey Play Lab
- New Jersey Repertory Company
- Paper Mill Playhouse -
- Passage Theatre Company
- Paterson Performing Arts Development Council
- Premiere Stages at Kean University -
- Progressive Theater
- Pushcart Players
- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey -
- Skyline Theatre Company
- South Camden Theatre Company
- Speranza Theatre Company
- The Theater Project
- Two River Theater
- Vanguard Theater Company
- Vivid Stage (formerly Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre)
- Women’s Theater Company
- Yendor Theatre Company
The Alliance has also teamed up with these theaters:
- Bergen Performing Arts Center (Bergen PAC)
- Count Basie Center for the Arts
- Mayo Performing Arts Center
- New Brunswick Performing Arts Center
- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) -
- South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) -
- The State Theatre of New Jersey -
One theater erroneously included by the Alliance on its list of participants is the Surflight Theatre on Long Beach Island, which posted a correction on its Facebook page Friday afternoon.
"Surflight Theatre will NOT be requiring proof of vaccinations, negative Covid tests or masks for any outdoor performance, outdoor comedy or outdoor event that we are holding this year," the theater wrote.
Dan Zarrow contributed to this report