Mayor Janey’s indoor mask mandate for Boston is a great first step in helping arts organizations and arts audiences find their way back together. As a sector, the city’s arts community appreciates clear guidelines to help ensure the safest possible environments for performers, staff and audiences. But the requirements need to go further.
In ArtsBoston’s newest Audience Outlook Monitor survey, 98% of respondents report being fully vaccinated, or planning to be.
Nearly 80% want assurances their health is protected before they return to theater, dance and music performances. A vaccine requirement like the one announced recently by more than a dozen local theaters should be a mandate for indoor spaces where people gather to experience the joy of live performances. A corollary push to make vaccines more accessible to all communities will ensure equity as well as greater public health.
Recovery of the arts means a recovery of jobs and an economic boost for Boston. After 18 months without income due to shutdowns, cultural organizations whose work has reliably realized an annual $2 billion economic boost for Greater Boston can’t continue to be hamstrung, forced to defend common-sense practices while getting back on their feet. Let’s follow the science that vaccines and masks together offer the best protection, and require vaccination for all indoor Boston gatherings.
Catherine Peterson is Executive Director of ArtsBoston, the marketing, research and advocacy group that supports arts and culture in Jamaica Plain and the Greater Boston region.