Metro requires vaccination for theater shows
Everyone entering a Metro operated performing arts centers must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the elected regional government announced Thursday.
The only exception is to show a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours before a show of performance.
The Aug. 19 announcement followed a call from 10 user organizations for such requirements.
"Metro's policies are consistent with performing arts centers around the country and globe that have implemented vaccination protocols to keep artists as well as community safe. Metro's policy for its theatres and performances incorporated these industry best practices with safety as the guiding principle," the elected regional government said Thursday.
The announcement followed a call for such requirements by 10 organizations that use the theaters.
"This is needed to protect the health and safety of the entire performing arts community, our artists on stage, audience, and staff. After more than 18 months of being shut down, our organizations need a durable pathway to emerge, which includes taking this additional step to reduce any ticket buyer hesitancy," said a letter sent to the Metro Council on Aug. 15.
The letter was sent as the delta variant is surging, infections are increasing and hospitalizations are spiking. It was signed by 10 organizations that use the five centers managed by the elected regional government collectively known as Portland'5 Centers for the Arts. Those organizations are: the Metro Youth Symphony; the Oregon Symphony; the Portland Opera; Broadway Across America; Oregon Ballet Theatre; White Bird; Oregon Children's Theatre; the Singing Christmas Tree; Literary Arts; and Stumptown Stages.
The letters calls for the following requirements:
• P'5 guests must be fully vaccinated to attend a show.
• P'5 guests must show proof of vaccination at the time of ticket purchase and entry into a theatre.
• If an exception is appropriate for religious or medical reasons, P'5 guests must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time.
• All P'5 employees and volunteers must be vaccinated unless they are granted an exemption pursuant to Oregon law.
• Exceptions include: children under 12; people with a medical condition; and people that qualify for religious exemption.
"Many other leading cities and performing arts centers have already found this path forward (Seattle Theatre Group, San Francisco, The Kennedy Center and theatres in New York City, as well as many other national and international venues), and have established best practices for welcoming audiences safely. Now is the time for all of us to align our practices with other civic arts and cultural leaders, in order to ensure that Portland's arts and culture sector survives," the letter said.
In addition, the letter said all indoor mask mandates must be obeyed. Exemptions apply for activities that would be impractical or impossible to wear a mask, such as performances involving singing or speaking in public.
The letter can be found here.
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