Since last year, the Actors’ Equity Association has been looking into and sharing the measures being taken to successfully reopen theaters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following more general guiding principals being released and fresh off of the announcement of COVID-safety procedures for national tours, the organization has updated its safety protocols for theaters across the country with fully vaccinated companies, including the lifting of masking and testing mandates. Equity developed these protocols with the supervision of Dr. David Michaels, former head of OSHA during the Obama Administration and member of President Biden’s Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.
“The health and safety of our members comes first,” said Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association said in a statement. ““We are heartened by the declining infection rates nationwide because so many people have done their part and gotten vaccinated. As such, it will now be a smoother and less expensive process for employers to recall our members to work.”
Companies that require employees to be fully vaccinated must give four hours worth of compensation to employees not yet vaccinated to receive their shot(s), as well as provide sick pay to those experiencing side effects. Fully vaccinated companies are still required to have at least one dedicated COVID-19 Safety Manager that must be fully trained and always be onsite. In addition, backstage visitors and stagedoor autograph signings are prohibited.
The updated protocols are valid through September 30 and are available to view in full here, along with an updated intake form for theaters with mixed-vaccination status companies. Equity has separate protocols it has negotiated with the Broadway League for national tours. Talks for Broadway’s safety protocols are ongoing.