Many mask and vax policies are still in place

Although the state ended its mandate last week that masks must be worn in indoor businesses, a coalition of arts venues in the Capital Region reiterates that they or many artists that they host still require the public to wear masks or show proof of vaccination to be admitted to a show. .

“We would like to remind the public to always check our various websites and other information resources to be informed of the protocols and regulations of each of our sites and, indeed, of each individual event,” said Capital Region Arts Restart. Coalition in a joint statement released on Tuesday. . Among its 10 members are the Palace Theater and the Egg in Albany, Cohoes Music Hall in Cohoes, Hudson Hall in Hudson, Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, and the Proctors Collaborative based in Schenectady, including its affiliates, Capital Repertory Theater in Albany and Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga.

To illustrate how varied the rules can be, even in the same place on the same weekend, The Weight Band performs Friday at Cohoes Music Hall. The group does not require the public to be masked or show proof of vaccination. The following night at the venue, however, for Broken Arrow, a tribute to the music of Neil Young, patrons must show they’ve been vaccinated, as per the band’s contract. The music hall’s general policy for now is that masks are recommended but not required unless a performer requests further measures, said Owen Smith, artistic director and producer at Playhouse Stage Company, which runs the Cohoes. Music Hall owned by the city under contract with Cohoes.

At the Palace of Albany, a mask remains mandatory for admission and must be worn throughout an event, spokesman Sean Allen said. (Repealing the state mask allows private entities and municipalities to set stricter rules as they see fit, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s order last week.) Some tour acts visiting the palace require a proof of full vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 with 72 hours, including Twiddle on February 26, but the comedians who performed the previous two nights, Tom Segura on February 24 and Jim Gaffigan on February 25, have no vaccination requirement for the public.

“We expect all shows released for sale with this (vaccination) requirement to keep it in place,” Allen said.

For now, to ensure a consistent policy across all of its venues, Proctors Collaborative will continue to require proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks for audiences and staff at all theater presentations, CEO Philip said. Morris. That’s partly because it’s required by Equity, the actors’ union representing many artists appearing at Proctors and The Rep, and partly to maintain consistency across the organization, Morris said.

“We serve a large population and welcome a diverse mix of performers to our stages, each with unique needs and requirements. Given this, we ask for patrons’ understanding and patience,” the coalition said in its statement. .

The arts groups said they had all experienced some pushback from the public over mask and vax requirements since their inception, and they said the public may have become more confused when MVP Arena in Albany announced last week that neither masks nor proof of vaccination are required. for any of his upcoming events, including the John Mayer concerts on Thursday and Korn on March 20.

Given the variable rules and the likelihood that they will continue to evolve and be even more relaxed, the coalition said: “We … collectively ask customers to act with patience, calm and understanding when asking attend arts events, regardless of any particular regulations that may be Our volunteers, staff, and performers on our stages are working hard to continue the reopening of the performing arts industry in our region, and we call on our audience to treat them and each other with respect and kindness so that everyone can enjoy a positive and civil environment at our sites.

Corina C. Butler