As national tours prepare to hit the road once again beginning this summer, new safety protocols will go into effect as recently agreed upon by Actors’ Equity Association (the union representing stage performers and managers) and the Broadway League (the trade organization for touring companies).
Among the key stipulations, The New York Times reports, is that all company members must be fully vaccinated, with exemptions at the producers’ discretion. No such mandate will be required for audiences members (at least not through the Equity agreement), though theatregoers will need to remain masked and be seated at least six feet from either the orchestra pit or foot of the stage.
Additional policies outlined in the new agreement echo the unions’ previously distributed guidelines for “fully vaccinated” productions, including the implementation of COVID safety officers to enforce protocols and mark up violators. Company members will also be required to receive a COVID test (at no cost to them) weekly to surveil and identify hotspots at the earliest possible level.
National tours’ reopening timelines align more or less with Broadway’s, with some going back on the road in August as more launch (or relaunch) throughout the fall. Among the first tours to return to the stage will be Wicked (beginning August 3 in Dallas) and Hamilton (beginning August 10 in San Francisco, with a concurrent sit-down in Los Angeles).