CHICAGO (CBS) —A night out at the theater may look a little different, with masks and vaccinations for patrons and performers.
Several dozen local venues are announcing those safety requirement as the curtain goes up on a growing list of productions.READ MORE: 'An Important Time For Us': Chicagoans Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
2’s Got Your Ticket, with entertainment reporter Vince Gerasole.
In the pandemic, the performing arts community has said they were the first to close and they’ll be the last to reopen. But as curtains begin to rise and the pandemic lingers, producers are realizing the way to stay open is a unified approach.
Crews are putting the finishing touches on Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s massive 50,000 square-foot expansion. It includes a versatile new theater-in-the-round.
“Most of the times it will be 400 seats when we are in production.”
Areas reserved for hard hats and masks, Executive Director Brooke Flanagan showed off the new spaces.READ MORE: Downtown Chicago Roadblocks Quell Mexican Independence Day Street Celebrations
“I can’t imagine what that first moment is going to be like at Steppenwolf,” Flanagan said. “We’ve been aching for it.”
CBS 2 spoke to Flanagan on the same stage where vaccinated, mask-less performers will bring productions to life, come November. And Steppenwolf is not alone.
“We’ve bound together with our colleagues across the arts community in Chicago to make sure artists audience members and staff are safe all safe in our COVID-19 protocols,” Flanagan said.
Over 70 local preforming arts venues have agreed on unified COVID-19 safety protocols. In general, patrons will need to wear masks and have proof of full vaccination to attend an indoor performance.
The list includes organizations from the Joffrey Ballet to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Each realizing a health scare for one could mean a setback for all.
“Our performing arts industry employs over 83,000 arts workers. We’re a $17.6 billion industry there’s a lot on the line,” said Flanagan. “We realized we all needed to work together to ensure that we had unified protocols that would allow us to not only open, but to stay open.”MORE NEWS: 'We're Back': Store Owner Reopens Chicago Sports On Michigan Avenue After 2020 Unrest
One last note, as I walked through the Steppenwolf’s new wine bar, on the history wall was a picture from their past production of “La Ruta” and one of the actresses was my daughter. I just wanted to share.