Families visiting Broadway shows in New York City will need to ensure that some of the youngest members are vaccinated following new entry rules that come into effect later this month.

If you're eager to get through those playhouse doors, here's what you need to know about the latest rules as shows return after COVID-forced shutdowns in December.

What are Broadway's COVID-19 entry rules?

Broadway is requiring that all attendees aged five and older show proof of vaccination starting January 29. That means they must have received their second shot of an FDA-approved dual vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two weeks before attending a show.

Guests who are less than 14 days out from their last vaccine dose (excluding boosters) must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance, or a negative antigen test taken within six hours.

New York residents can present their proof of vaccination through the Excelsior Pass if they wish, though any official vaccination certificates are accepted in digital or paper format provided they're from a World Health Organization or FDA-approved dose. This applies to international vaccine certificates from visitors too. Anyone over the age of 18 must also present a valid photo ID to prove they're the cert holder.

Guests under the age of five attending a show must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult. They're also required to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter Broadway venues.

The Lion King billboard in Broadway
"The Lion King" was one of the shows forced to cancel performances in December

Currently, only guests over the age of 11 are required to present proof of vaccination to bypass testing requirements. The upcoming rule change on January 29 follows the expansion of vaccine requirements of the Key to NYC policy (that is the requirement for people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to enter most public venues in the city) to children over the age of five.

So if you're planning to see a show soon, be sure to have your official vaccination certificate, photo ID and, of course, a face mask. The new rules are expected to apply through April 2022, before another review is planned.

When will canceled Broadway shows reopen?

A number of Broadway shows canceled performances in December amid a surge in Omicron cases that affected cast and crew. But after giving staff time to recover and complete their isolation requirements many shows are back on including Hamilton, Aladdin, Tina—The Tina Turner Musical, Moulin Rouge, The Lion King, and more. Mrs. Doubtfire was among the shows that canceled in December but is taking a break until March 15.

Not every show made it out of the surge unscathed. The Alanis Morisette-inspired musical Jagged Little Pill won't be back in New York City for the foreseeable future. It was forced to close when Omicron hit and has no plans to reopen as it prepares to tour Australia later this year, though organizers haven't given up hope of returning to Broadway. "We also hope and intend to find a way to bring this vibrant and vitalizing musical back to the Broadway stage once the current crisis is past," they told the New York Times.

Autumn Activities In New York City
Several Broadway shows canceled performances due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 restrictions in New York City

If you are planning to travel to New York, you should be aware the city and the state both have COVID-19 requirements in place.

New York state currently requires masks to be worn in all indoor places unless the business or venue has a vaccine mandate.

In addition, New York City requires proof of vaccination at restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, cinemas, and stadiums.

You may also like:
Here's when you can visit US national parks for free in 2022
A classic NYC hotel gets a facelift...except for this famous institution in its walls

This article was first published December 2021 and updated January 2022

See our full range of USA travel guides

Make the most of your time in the USA with Lonely Planet’s range of travel guides. Be the architect of your own trip as you discover the best things to do in the USA through insider tips, suggested itineraries and handy maps.

Buy USA travel guides

Explore related stories