“Safety is paramount,” said Richard Frankel, one of the owners of the venue. “After safety, we want people to be comfortable and happy.”
Those wishing to attend the Off Broadway sound experience “Blindness” at the Daryl Roth Theater, for example, are no longer asked to fill out a health questionnaire or have their temperature checked. But the venue continues to require audience members to be socially distanced and wear face coverings while inside the theater.
The Public Theater is among the institutions that have sought to find a middle ground.
Officials announced in early June that they planned to allow only 428 people to attend each performance of its acclaimed Shakespeare in the Park, citing state rules as the reason they had to set such sharp limits on attendance. Then on June 24, the Public said it would significantly increase the capacity of the Delacorte Theater to 1,468 seats for its free performances of “Merry Wives” because the state had lifted its restrictions.
“The governor’s decree to lift restrictions acknowledges a beautiful reality: We are finally starting to recover from Covid-19,” the Public’s artistic director, Oskar Eustis, said in a statement.
Now the Delacorte has both “full capacity” sections for people who show proof of full vaccination and “physically distanced” sections for others. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face mask at all times to enter the theater and when moving around. But whether audience members must wear a mask while seated depends on which section they are seated in.
Arts officials also have to contend with city and union rules created to ensure performances are safe. Though New York Classical Theater performs outdoors, it still had to abide by restrictions imposed by its city parks permit and by the actor’s union, which sets out the rules under which its members are allowed to work.