Theater fans have mixed opinions on Shea’s vaccine requirement


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Theater fans have mixed opinions about the new vaccine policies at all Shea’s venues.

By the time Tootsie opens at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on October 10 everyone in the audience will have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Guests must start showing proof of one dose to enter beginning October 9.

“I applaud it. It is irresponsible to be out and about in a public place unmasked and unvaccinated,” said Bill Altreuter.

Leah Armusewicz was at the box office buying tickets to Disney’s Frozen on Friday, which won’t be impacted by the vaccine rule. She doesn’t agree with the requirement and will only be supporting businesses that aren’t requiring the shot.

“To force it in order to do things socially is really unfair to people it’s making them make a medical decision based on a non-medical situation,” Armusewicz said.

Guests attending shows at Shea’s Buffalo, 710, and Smith theaters will need to show proof they’re fully vaccinated beginning October 28. Masks will still be required.

This was announced just days after Highmark Stadium and KeyBank Center also started requiring vaccines.

So are more vaccine requirements on the horizon in Western New York? Vaccines are already required to dine in restaurants in New York City.

Melissa Fleischut is the president of the New York State Restaurant Association and said the industry doesn’t want this to spread across the state. She also said she doesn’t know of any restaurants in Western New York voluntarily requiring the vaccine.

“We don’t want to see our industry in any way singled out to enforce this mandate on the public it’s too challenging for us right now and it puts us in harm’s way,” said Fleischut.

So in Buffalo, it’s just the large entertainment venues requiring the vaccine for now; moving forward with the public split on the issue.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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