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Actors’ Equity Not Consulted By Broadway League In Setting Mask-Optional Policy

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In a letter to members of Actors’ Equity Association, obtained by Deadline, the union says that the Broadway League’s decision to adopt a “mask optional” policy for audience members beginning in July was “made unilaterally, without input” from the union.The League, the trade organization which represents theater owners and producers, announced Tuesday that in July audience members will be encouraged, but not mandated, to wear masks in theaters.

The policy, which will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis, ends Broadway’s audience mask mandate that’s been in place since theaters reopened from the Covid shutdown last fall.Although Equity, which represents actors and stage managers in the theater, did not publicly respond to the League’s announcement, a letter sent to its members indicates that unions “were only given advance notice a couple of hours before the [League’s] announcement,” and that input from the union was not sought by the producers and owners in setting the mask optional policy.In the letter, Equity tells members that the union has consulted with its public health and medical advisors, and that those advisors “assure us that the best COVID-19 mitigation efforts available today for theatrical workplaces are focused on ventilation.”“We are continuing to negotiate with the League around ventilation standards in rehearsal spaces and theaters – including onstage and backstage areas,” the letter states, reminding members that the League’s decision on audience mask mandates “does not change the current protocols for members backstage.”The letter also includes a statement from Dr.

Mark Cunningham-Hill, the union’s chief public health consultant, who notes that “with more and more theaters dropping masking requirements

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