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More Than Two Dozen Pittsburgh Arts Venues Announce Vaccine Requirement, Indoor Masking

August Wilson Center - Jake Savitz (33 of 52).jpg
Jake Savitz
90.5 WESA

Proof of vaccination will be required at dozens of venues in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District and across the city. The Cultural Trust, along with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, made the announcement Thursday morning. Masks will also be required inside venues as long as Allegheny County maintains “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The changes will begin Sept. 17 and last at least through Nov. 30, according to the organizations.

“We need to work together to combat the spread of this pervasive virus while also ensuring our arts community continues to thrive,” said Mitch Swain, CEO of the arts council.

The pandemic shuttered venues for cultural groups when it first began in early 2020. According to the arts council, Pittsburgh organizations lost more than $45.8 million in canceled shows, tickets and other revenue.

Stage AE on the North Shore was the first major local venue to require proof of vaccine when they announced the policy last week.

The list of downtown venues includes the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Benedum Center, Byham Theater, Heinz Hall and the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Other neighborhood venues, including City Theatre on the South Side and City of Asylum on the North Side, will also implement the requirements.

“City Theatre encourages anyone eligible and able to take the vaccine,” the organization said in a statement. “Do it for your own health, your neighbors’ and for the entire community.”

The vaccine requirement will not be in effect for the Cultural Trust’s three-day “Lights On!” as the program will take place outside. But all other performances will begin requiring guests to show they’ve been given the full rounds of the Moderna or Pfizer shot, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm