The masks will stay on at Benaroya Hall. 

The past few days have yielded a constellation of arts news all pointing to the same fact: The pandemic is not over (we knew this) and business-as-usual arts events aren’t returning soon.  

Garth Brooks has canceled his recently announced Labor Day weekend at Lumen Field, citing rising Covid cases. Washington’s first major music fest since the pandemic’s start, Watershed Music Festival, held in late July at the Gorge, turned out to be a super spreader event. (Are we shocked that this “joyous, unbridled,” 25,000-person country bash has led to over 230 Covid cases? No, we are not.) And several music venues—Neumos, Barboza, the Showboxes, all of Seattle Theatre Group’s joints—began to require proof of vaccination (or a recent negative Covid test) from all concertgoers.

So I wasn’t particularly startled today when, at 2pm, I received a concerted email blast from seven major Seattle area arts organizations, saying they too demand that audiences be fully vaccinated (or recently tested) and masked. Those organizations are Pacific Northwest Ballet, 5th Avenue Theatre, Village Theatre (in Everett and Issaquah), Seattle Opera, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT Theatre, and Seattle Symphony. (Kids under 12 are exempt.)

Shortly after I got those emails, governor Jay Inslee announced a return to a statewide mask mandate and that the state requires all school employees to be vaccinated by October 18. So you’ll have to be masked at all these events anyhow.

Here’s a list of arts organizations requiring vaccination. Check individual websites for exact policies.