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Photograph: Shutterstock/Sean PaMetropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera will begin requiring booster shots

You can thank the Omicron variant for the new mandate.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Just being vaccinated won't be enough to get into the Metropolitan Opera starting January 17.

On that date, the Metropolitan Opera will start requiring staff and visitors to show proof of a COVID-19 booster shot—the first cultural institution in NYC to do so.

You can thank the Omicron variant for the new mandate, The Met says.

RECOMMENDED: Here's who is mandated to have a vaccine in NYC right now

"We want everyone who enters our opera house to feel safe," said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. "We worked hard to reopen in September, and we’re certainly not giving up now. I’m confident that our employees know this action is in their best interests and that our audiences will be in agreement, too."

The decision to require booster shots was made in consultation with the Met’s health experts at Mount Sinai. The Met reviewed the new policy with the leaders of its various employee unions in advance of the announcement made on Wednesday.

For those who are not eligible for a booster until after January 17, the Met will allow a two-week grace period to schedule and receive the booster upon becoming eligible. After the two weeks have passed, entry will not be allowed until the booster has been received.

Recipients of the Pfizer (age 16+) or Moderna (age 18+) vaccines become eligible for a booster six months after their second dose, and recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine become eligible two months after their single dose. The CDC has not yet released booster guidelines for the AstraZeneca vaccine or other vaccines beyond the three previously mentioned. Once guidelines have been announced, the Met will adjust its policy regarding other vaccines accordingly.

The Met has been keeping up with NYC and New York State mandates since its reopening on September 27—it has had 59 performances of nine different operas in front of a collective audience of approximately 160,000 audience members. The Met employs up to 3,000 people each day of its season, which stretches from September until June.

"Our population is far larger than any other not-for-profit performing arts organization in the country, which is why we have to be in the vanguard of health and safety," Gelb added.

Face masks will still be required at all times inside the Met, except when eating or drinking in designated areas.

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