Masks will also be required in venues when the CDC categorizes Allegheny County as having a "substantial" or "high" COVID-19 transmission.By Meghan Schiller

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh’s Cultural District arts organizations will require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for indoor performances.

“We want to make going out to the theater fun again, so we want to make these new protocols as easy to understand and process as possible,” said the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Vice President of Artistic Planning Scott Shiller.

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The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust says the vaccines will be required for performances at Arcade Comedy Theater, August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Benedum Center, Byham Theater, Greer Cabaret Theater, Harris Theater, Heinz Hall, Liberty Magic, O’Reilly Theater and 937 Liberty.

“When you arrive at the theater and you have your ticket, we just ask that you bring your COVID card or a photo of your COVID card, a negative COVID test and your driver’s license and basically you’re just going to go through two checkpoints,” said Shiller.

Fully vaccinated people won’t need the negative test since that’s only for a few exceptions to the policy.

“Those exceptions are for individuals that are 12 years of age or younger who can’t be vaccinated or anybody holding a sincere religious exemption or needing a health exemption,” said Shiller

Masks will also be required in venues when Allegheny County has a “substantial” or “high” COVID-19 transmission.

The requirements start on Sept. 17 and are expected to run through at least Nov. 30.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust says given the surging cases and delta variant, “the Cultural District’s leaders came to the difficult decision that the safest way to return to gathering for superior experiences in the arts is by requiring guests to be fully vaccinated and mask up when necessary.”

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KDKA’s Meghan Schiller asked people in the Cultural District for their thoughts on the new plan.

“People want to do things like get back to normal, see Broadway shows, so I feel like the people who really love the theater will come out,” said Pittsburgh resident Michelle Rodgers.

“If everyone was masked, I would feel more comfortable especially since it’s indoors and I’m assuming there would be a good number of people there,” said Pittsburgh resident John Dall’helio.

All staff, volunteers and artists in Cultural District venues are also required to be fully vaccinated and to wear masks when they are not performing. Regular testing will also occur to keep people backstage healthy.

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council CEO Mitch Swain tells KDKA they’re also focused on keeping the indoor venues clean and the air fresh.

“We’re working together with several organizations to do air quality studies in local venues to figure out what we can do to bring more fresh air in,” said Swain.

As for the unvaccinated art lovers like Sam Krill, she’ll need to wait to enjoy the arts, and she’s ok with it.

“It was just a matter of time before this was to come into place with this pandemic and I’m not a vaccinated person, but I do know people who are vaccinated, and I absolutely support it, but right now I’m just not willing to do it myself,” said Krill.

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In conjunction with the announcement, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council says these organizations are also adopting proof of vaccination policies:

  • Attack Theater
  • barebones productions
  • Belle Voci
  • Bricolage Calliope
  • The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society
  • City of Asylum
  • City Theatre
  • MCG Jazz
  • Off The Wall Productions/Carnegie Stage
  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theater
  • Pittsburgh CLO
  • Pittsburgh Musical Theater
  • Pittsburgh Opera
  • Pittsburgh Playwrights
  • Pittsburgh Public Theater
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse
  • Quantum Theater.

Meghan Schiller