COVID-19 vaccine

The vaccine is available to all Philadelphia residents 16 and older! Get an appointment or visit the Convention Center or Esperanza walk-up sites.

Indoor live theater, music venue, and movie theater guidance

Indoor live theater, music venue, and movie theater guidance

The following is intended as a plain-language summary of rules during the COVID-19 emergency and does not replace the need to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Protections Needed


  • Audience members and staff must wear masks at all times with only these exceptions:
    • While patrons are eating and drinking in assigned seats.
    • While staff are eating or drinking during break times. Employees should be seated at least 6 feet from others when taking off mask.
  • Performers should wear face coverings whenever possible. If applicable, do not have performers sing or play wind or brass instruments unless they are more than 6 feet from each other and audience members. Bell covers should be used on wind or brass instruments.
  • Any crew members who cannot remain consistently at least 6 feet from unmasked performers should use a face shield in addition to a face mask (e.g., stagehands, makeup, and wardrobe).
  • Food and beverages may only be consumed if event attendees are seated in assigned seats and remain seated through the duration of the event.
    • Do not serve food or drinks to standing guests. Guests must be seated in order to eat or drink. Drinks may only be served with food.
    • For more information about serving food see Restaurant and mobile food cart guidance.


  • If the performance includes the sale of tickets, install plastic barriers between staff and the public at ticket sales areas; encourage online ticket sales.
  • Place barriers or distance markers around stages to keep audience members more than 6 feet from the stage  or performance site.


  • Screen every staff member and/or performer for symptoms before every rehearsal, performance or shift and prevent them from remaining on site if they have cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell. Screen all staff and performers for recent exposure to COVID-19.
  • It is not necessary to conduct onsite temperature measurement for staff, performers, or attendees. If you measure temperatures, use a no-touch thermometer, and do not allow anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher to remain on-site.
  • Have sick leave policies in place so that employees excluded from the workplace do not lose earnings and ticket exchange policies (for ticketed events) to allow patrons who are symptomatic or have been exposed to exchange their tickets.
  • If an employee develops COVID-19 infection or has a positive test, businesses and other organizations must take additional precautions to stop the virus from spreading further. Required precautions include calling the Health Department at (215) 685-5488 to report positive cases.


  • Adjust work assignments to ensure employees can stay at least 6 feet from each other throughout their shifts.
  • Keep performers at least 6 feet apart, particularly if not masked.
  • Avoid use of shared dressing rooms.
  • Use floor decals or other visual cues to encourage attendees to remain at least 6 feet apart.
  • Establish procedures to prevent crowding among persons waiting for tickets or to enter the performance venue.
    • Consider the use of sidewalk decals, chalked or painted circles, or other visual cues to encourage customers to stay at least 6 feet apart while waiting to enter.
  • Use non-contact payment methods if possible.

Reduce crowds

  • Block off rows and seats to maintain a 6-foot distance between groups. There should be no more than 6 persons in a group.
  • Indoor events and gatherings are limited to 25% of maximum occupancy regardless of venue size.
  • For movie theaters hosting multiple showings at the same cineplex, determine the number of attendees and staff in each theater by calculating maximum occupancy for each theater space.
  • For non-public space, limit based on the use of the space. For offices, use Office guidance; for cafes, use Restaurant and mobile food cart guidance.
  • For cineplex theaters: stagger movie start times to avoid excess crowding in lobby and hallways.
  • For live theater: if possible, select performance pieces that require a small group of performers (<10) and cohort performance groups to minimize the total numbers of work-exposures experienced by staff and ensemble.


  • Place handwashing stations or hand sanitizer at entry, lobby, break rooms, green rooms and outside communal bathrooms for all staff and patrons with prominent signage promoting use.


  • Wipe down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant regularly, including railings and seat armrests between performances. See CDC guidance for details.
  • Wipe microphones with disinfectant between users.


  • If possible, increase ventilation in the building by either:
    • Opening windows and/or doors on opposite sides of the building and using fans to blow outside air through the building OR
    • Optimizing ventilation provided by the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system by:
      • Having the HVAC system checked to assure that it is working properly. If it can be adjusted, the system should be set to provide at least 6 air exchanges per hour.
      • Maximizing the amount of outside air circulated by the system.
      • Installing filters with minimum efficiency reporting values (MERV) of 13, or the highest compatible with the filter rack.
      • Checking that the external air inlet duct is not blocked and that it is at least 15 feet from people.


  • Educate staff about strategies to prevent spread of COVID-19.
  • Encourage customers to download and turn on the PDPH exposure notification app to help with contact tracing.
  • Remind staff who are sick or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 within the past 10 days to stay home and follow CDC quarantine guidelines. Staff without any symptoms may end their quarantine period after:
    • Day 10 without testing, OR
    • Day 7 after receiving a negative test result (lab-based or rapid) after day 5.
  • Staff who have been fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine when exposed to someone with COVID-19 if they meet the following criteria:
    • They are fully vaccinated, and it’s been at least 2 weeks after the last dose in the vaccine series.
    • They have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
  • Vaccination is not 100% effective.
    • Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should get tested.
    • Anyone who is positive for COVID-19 must isolate according to CDC guidelines.
    • After vaccination you must still wear a mask, keep your distance, and avoid crowds.
  • Post prominent signs at entrances:
    • Mandating that all staff and visitors wear masks.
    • Mandating physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
    • Encouraging people to cover coughs or sneezes.

See also:

  • Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone.
  • Call (800) 722-7112 to speak to a health care professional on the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline.