August Wilson Center Now Requires All Patrons to Wear N95 or KN95 Masks
Some changes at this Downtown Pittsburgh venue went into effect on Feb. 1, and more are coming on March 1.
Even though Allegheny County has reported a sharp decrease in new COVID-19 infections, some local establishments are still taking an extra step to make sure case counts remain low.
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center recently announced changes to its masking and vaccination policy ahead of the premiere of “Here & Now,” by Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and opens March 24. Some of these go beyond what is required by other venues in the Cultural District.
As of Feb. 1, the only approved masks at the August Wilson Center are N95 and KN95 face coverings, which public health agencies have repeatedly said provide the best protection against the coronavirus. All other masks, including plastic face shields and cloth masks, are not permitted. Masks are mandatory whether you’re vaccinated or not.
Proper masks will be provided on a limited basis, the theater said, but entry will be denied to guests who are not wearing N95 or KN95 masks.
The next wave of changes, which mostly deal with updates to and reiterations of the center’s vaccination policy, will go into effect March 1.
All guests over the age of 5 who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose must be fully vaccinated and will be required to show proof of full vaccination. There is no option to provide a negative COVID-19 test in lieu of vaccination.
“Fully vaccinated” means on the day of the performance date as shown on the valid ticket, a guest is at least 14 days after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or at least 14 days after their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Proof of vaccination must come directly from the health care provider or pharmacy that performed the vaccination. Guests may display proof on a smartphone or present a physical copy. Use of a Digital Vaccination Passport App is also acceptable.
All guests 18 years or older must also present a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport. Guests younger than 18 may use a school photo ID. All guests under the age of 5 who are not eligible for vaccines yet are the only guests who will be exempted from the venue’s vaccination requirements. They must still be accompanied by an adult who does meet the vaccination requirements.
Guests who are not fully vaccinated, or who cannot provide documentation to prove that they are, will not be allowed to enter the theater.
The August Wilson Center has also installed hand sanitizing stations for visitors at the entrance and throughout the building. It will undergo hourly cleaning and sanitation of high-touch points (door handles, countertops, elevator buttons, etc.). Plexiglass shields have been installed at areas of frequent contact between staff and visitors alike, and the restrooms are cleaned thoroughly each day. Deeper cleanings and sanitization will occur during non-operating hours.
Venues throughout the Cultural District remain steadfast in their mitigation measures, even as other organizations — like the city’s Catholic Diocese — plan to lift mask mandates and other restrictions near the end of February. Masks are required for everyone older than 2 throughout the Cultural District, although no other venues have specified that only select types of masks will be accepted.
For the Benedum Center and Byham theaters, guests will have the option of going through “pre-check” to make sure all is in order. After verifying all necessary vaccination credentials, visitors will receive a wristband and gain access to the expedited entry line at the theater. Entry pre-check at the Theater Square Box Office is a free and optional service and is available until the start of the performance.
The venues continue to require proof of vaccination, a negative COVID antigen test taken within 24 hours of the performance start time or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time.