Masks, plus proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required for shows at Near West Theatre


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Near West Theatre announced new COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-2022 season Wednesday.

“Near West Theatre has a long history as an intergenerational community theatre serving youth, families and adults. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis and the current Delta variant, we are working diligently to stay true to our mission of providing accessible and transformational theatre arts experiences to audiences of all ages while simultaneously following public health best practices to keep all those in our theatre safe and healthy,” Mike Obertacz, executive director of Near West Theatre, said in a press release.

Here are the new guidelines:

  • All audience members ages 12 and over must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative test result taken within 72 hours prior to entering Near West Theatre.
  • Audience members ages 12 and over who are not vaccinated will be required to provide proof of a negative test result from a PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to entering Near West Theatre or a negative antigen COVID-19 test result taken within six hours prior to entering Near West Theatre. At-home tests will NOT be accepted.
  • All staff, volunteers, and audience members are required to wear masks, properly covering their mouth and nose at all times while inside Near West Theatre, regardless of vaccination status. Cloth, surgical, and KN95 masks are all accepted. Masks with exhalation valves, bandanas, scarves, gaiters, etc., will not be permitted. Surgical masks will be available free of charge at the box office.
  • All audience members will have a temperature screening prior to entering Near West Theatre.
  • Near West Theatre will not provide concessions during performances
  • Near West Theatre will remove balcony seating for social distancing of musicians
  • Anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or is exhibiting symptoms or feeling ill, will be asked to stay home. Arrangements can be made with Near West Theatre for an alternate date or refund.

“Near West Theatre is in support of our fellow arts and culture institutions who have also announced their safety protocols and understand that these decisions are not easy and are always made in the best interest of who we serve,” adds Obertacz. “We applaud the local theatre community for taking the right steps to protect its staff, performers, and audiences.”

The theatre plans to open for its first live, indoor performance in November.

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