All New Yorkers who are 16 years old and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting April 6, Gov. Cuomo announced Monday.
And starting Tuesday, New Yorkers who are 30 years old and above will be eligible for the vaccine. The increased vaccination of adults in New York state paves a way forward for the reopening of Broadway and other theaters in the state.
These announcements come ahead of President Biden’s declaration that all states should make the vaccine eligible to all adults starting May 1.
The increased eligibility will also aid in the vaccination of theater workers. Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to open vaccination sites in April specifically for Broadway and Off-Broadway industry workers. At the time, de Blasio did not have the power to declare those workers eligible for the vaccine based on their employment.
These specific sites are expected to be run by theater industry members. A spokesperson for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said Monday that several local chapters of the union have been meeting with city officials to discuss logistics and possible staffing.
The reopening plan for the Broadway industry is contingent on having a vaccinated audience and a vaccinated workforce. That’s because it’s based, in part, on having close to full capacity houses without socially distant seating. Industry leaders have been eyeing the fall for a restart.
“The sooner residents are vaccinated, the sooner theater can return, driving the state’s entire economic recovery,” said Brandon Lorenz, spokesperson for Actors’ Equity. “We look forward to working with the city of New York on its program for testing and vaccines and will continue to advocate for testing and vaccines for arts workers all around the country as part of our recovery from the pandemic.”
With 70% to 85% of the population expected to be vaccinated by late summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s disease top infectious disease expert, recently said he believes a fall reopening of the Broadway industry is possible.
New York’s expanded eligibility comes as the state, and its neighbor, New Jersey, battle the two highest case rates in the nation.