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Near West Theatre announces COVID-19 protocols for all indoor productions

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Posted at 1:46 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 13:46:36-04

CLEVELAND — The Near West Theatre, located in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, announced new COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-22 season, which includes proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test.

Beginning Oct. 31, the Near West Theatre will adopt the following guidelines and protocols for all indoor productions:

  • 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.
  • Fully vaccinated audience members will be required to provide proof of vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccination card, paper or digital. The vaccination card must show that 14 days have passed since either the second shot of a CDC or WHO-approved two-shot vaccine or since the administration of a CDC or WHO-approved one-shot vaccine.
  • 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 performance runs to limit opportunities to remove masks.
  • Near West Theatre will remove balcony seating for social distancing of musicians, otherwise, the house will be at full capacity. NWT may update this policy and reduce house size as we continue to monitor local case rates.
  • 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.

“The safety and wellbeing of our audience, performers, staff and volunteers is of utmost importance as Near West Theatre navigates the return to live, in-person indoor theatre and performances,” said Mike Obertacz, executive director of Near West Theatre, in a news release. “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. Our new safety protocols have been developed with both goals top of mind, using guidance from scientific data and research, insights from health professionals, reports from school district data, and community best practices to inform our policy. We want to ensure that our protocols protect the wellbeing of our community without creating barriers and accessibility issues that may inhibit us from serving those who need us most.”

Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.

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