Broadway extends mask requirement to June 30
( Fox )
Broadway has extended its mask mandate through June 30, officials announced Friday.
The Broadway League said operators of all 41 theatres in New York City will require masks for one more month, but policies for mandates in July and beyond will be decided at some point in June.
"We’re thrilled that nearly a quarter of a million people are attending Broadway shows weekly in this exciting spring season," President of The Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement. "As always, the safety and security of our cast, crew, and audience has been our top priority."
According to the league, Broadway shows generated approximately $30.3 million in gross ticket sales for the week ending May 15, with a total of just over 246,000 people in attendance. The figures bring the season-to-date gross to approximately $812 million and total season attendance to approximately 6.47 million people.
The top five highest-grossing shows for the week ending May 15 included "The Music Man," starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster ($3,377,554), "Hamilton" ($2,053,252), "The Lion King" ($1,636,928), "Plaza Suite," starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker ($1,619,811), and "Wicked" ($1,361,373).
The decision comes as New York City reported its highest COVID caseload since January this week.
The spike in cases appears to be from a new subvariant of the omicron strain, titled BA.2.12.1, which is believed to be at least 25 percent more contagious.
The descendant omicron strain accounts for roughly 80% of the current COVID positive cases reported in New York City, according to local news outlets.
The strain appears to be largely plaguing states in the northeastern sector of the U.S., with areas like southern California and Arizona having reported relatively few cases.
Mask mandates have been a hot button issue for months, particularly on the Broadway scene as the theater industry is one of the last holdouts in New York City to require masks.
Patti LuPone, star of "Company," made headlines last week after she yelled at an audience member to pull their mask up over their nose or leave the theater.
Vaccine mandates to attend the shows were lifted earlier this month in most theaters.