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Live theater in London, NYC grapple with new virus outbreaks | Health, Med. & Fitness



“If somebody tests positive, even if it’s a false positive, they’re not allowed to go on and potentially infect everyone else. That should be a reason for safety and comfort, for not only the community, but our theatergoers.”

Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association, which represents actors and stage managers, said the cancellation of shows means that Broadway producers are taking cases seriously and acting appropriately.

“The fact that performances are being paused shows that the producers and the unions are staying vigilant,” McColl said in a statement. “That’s what the safety protocols are there to be in place for, and this shows that they’re working.

During the more than 18 months that Broadway was closed, many theaters adjusted, adding rigorous personal testing and installing portable air fans and air filters with MERV-13 or HEPA technology. But old theaters are uniquely risky when it comes to transmission, with narrow backstage spaces and staff that often crowd. St. Martin said a booster campaign is being worked on.

London’s rocketing coronavirus infection rate, driven by the omicron variant, is also sparking a slew of cancellations among West End shows.

It’s a big blow to the theater sector in both cities, which have only recently reemerged after more than a year of lockdown and counts on the holiday season for a big chunk of their incomes.



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