Radio City Music Hall to Reopen to Maskless, Vaccinated Full Houses

Radio City Music Hall to Reopen to Maskless, Vaccinated Full Houses


In the latest sign of just how quickly vaccinations are changing what New Yorkers can and can’t do, Radio City Music Hall plans to reopen next month to welcome full-capacity, maskless audiences — as long as each ticket holder has been vaccinated.

The music hall will welcome streams of fully vaccinated people past its neon marquees and back into its gilded Art Deco auditorium beginning June 19 for the final evening of the Tribeca Festival, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday.

“This beautiful hall will be filled once again,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference held inside the music hall. “Having Radio City back at 100 percent, without masks, with people enjoying New York, and the New York arts, is going to be not only symbolic and metaphoric; but I think it’s going to go a long way toward bringing back this state.”

James L. Dolan, the executive chairman and chief executive of the Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the music hall, said that the hall would remain open beyond June 19, but only for vaccinated people. Asked how the rules would be implemented — and whether ushers would follow the honor system, or check for proof of vaccinations — he confessed that some details were still being worked out.

“That’s a really good question, I have no idea,” Mr. Dolan said. “We will be working with the state, and we will figure out a way for it to happen.”

The announcement came as reopening plans have been changing, and accelerating, by the day.

Mr. Dolan said the venues owned by his group would begin booking concerts and other events for what he said he anticipated would be a “blockbuster summer.”

“We didn’t think this was going to happen,” Mr. Dolan said. “We were really planning on a blockbuster fall.”

He said that the group’s other venues, which also hold sports events, would allow a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated patrons, but would prioritize vaccinated patrons. Still, he acknowledged that planners needed to conduct a more detailed assessment of the venues before specific rules could be rolled out.

In his remarks, Mr. Cuomo emphasized that people who are not vaccinated would not be allowed inside the music hall, noting in his PowerPoint: “There are benefits to being vaccinated!”

Though the number of new coronavirus cases is on the decline in New York State, as of Monday, the state was still averaging 1,864 coronavirus cases per day, according to data collected by The New York Times. Roughly 43 percent of the state’s residents are vaccinated and more than half have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

Organizers of the Tribeca Festival have already announced that they will open the festivities with the premier of “In the Heights,” the movie of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical. Mr. Cuomo said Monday that Pier 76 Park on the Hudson would host one of the opening-night screenings on June 9.

Monday’s announcement about the return of the revered hall is the latest in a series of reopenings that officials have laid out for the weeks and months ahead. As more and more New Yorkers have become vaccinated against the virus and federal health officials have relaxed their guidance on mask wearing, indoor arts venues have slowly begun to welcome patrons back while upholding limits on capacity and other safety requirements.

Perhaps most notably, Broadway shows have started selling tickets to what will be full capacity performances, some of which will begin as early as mid-September.



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