Theatres in WNY wait for more guidance before requiring people to wear face masks regardless of vaccine status


BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – As more government buildings and businesses announce mask requirements, theatres and other venues across Western New York are waiting to see if they’ll be next.

“I think customers would prefer to not have to have to wear a mask, if at all possible, but we had the mask mandate previously and customers wore masks and it wasn’t much of an issue,” said Ray Barker who’s the program director at the North Park Theatre. “It was about an added layer of protection for people, so they cooperated and we never had any problems, but I think given the choice they prefer not to wear the mask.”

Barker tells News 4, he could see indoor mask mandates return to venues the seat a lot of people, who won’t be able to space themselves out.

“If the transmission level got so high they found it advisable to require vax proof of vaccination I think most of their customers would comply,” he said. “They might have some issues with customers who don’t, in which case they’re going to have to make a decision on whether they want to go or not.”

Venues like Sheas Performing Arts Theatre seats thousands of people. Last week, the venue had a packed house for their first show in 400 days. Sheas officials tell News 4 that because their next performance isn’t until September 10th, it’s premature to have any updates on possible mask mandates.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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