New York drops face masks – for good

New York drops face masks – for good


norman lebrecht

October 19, 2022

In a coordinated move, major arts organisations in New York have announced that audiences will not need to wear face masks from October 24.

The policy change has been driven by the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet and Carnegie Hall. They say: ‘the time has come to move on.’


  • Norabide Guziak says:

    Wow. If the neurotic New Yorkers are dropping the face nappy it really must be over.

  • Maria says:

    They’ve taken long enough!

  • Player says:

    The clock was ticking… facing up to reality at last. Need to get people back to feeling it is not weird to be going out.

  • lamed says:

    The two aims of arts organizations are making money, and rejuvenating their audience, public health is not their business, there are enough New Yorkers to replace those who die off from maskless Covid anyway, and then you simply adjust to diversity programming according to the surviving population that shows up, Geffen Hall is designed with amplification in mind for diverse forms of music.

  • oberon481 says:

    Yeah, just when a new variant is about to spike. Brilliant!

    • Hayne says:

      Here we go again…

      • Amos says:

        Comrade H, no here you go again. Does that very nice house of yours require a new wing financed by kremlin-backed disinformation interests? Last week you apologized here for COVID-related comments but that was last week.

      • Anthony Sayer says:

        @Hayne: There’ll always be one. They come with their own sofa to hide behind.
        As for the new ‘spike’, no-one’s bothered to tell the hospitals, they’re still empty.

  • Sam says:

    They just lost this regular concertgoer. I have no desire to sit in a packed theater while an airborne virus is so widespread.

    Let’s face it, there are several thousand new COVID cases a day reported in NYC. Some of us can’t afford to quarantine for five+ days while recovering, and potentially spreading the virus to family members. I’ll watch the arts on TV instead.

    • Alex says:

      Sam, can I ask why you don’t feel comfortable attending and continuing to mask, even if those around you are not?

      • msc says:

        Masks offer only partial protection to the person wearing the mask. It is as important to stop the spread of the aerosolized virus at the source — other people. And a good mask even worn imperfectly reduces the amount of virus in the air.

      • Sam says:

        They’re called N95s for a reason: They’re 95% effective at blocking out viral particles, not 100%. I’ll still wear them, but I don’t care to test their efficacy while seated in a confined space for 2-3 hours at a time.

    • Rockmaninoff says:

      Watch the arts on TV? If only we could find something other than the Kardashians. I’d be happy to watch the arts on TV; sadly there is only the occasional PBS broadcast.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    I was at the Met last night for Medea. A nearly sold-out house. The Met’s mask requirement is still in effect for another few days.

    However, given the crush of audience during the intermission (more than a subway at rush hour–rush hour before the pandemic), there is no way I wouldn’t wear a mask in such a situation. Literally face to face for several minutes. With the flu and Covid about to raise their heads, I prefer to protect myself.

    Dropped mandates or not, I predict you’ll see the majority of audiences at Lincoln Center masked.

    Mama didn’t raise no fool.

  • Just a Member of the Audience says:

    Headline should be: New York Drops Face Masks – For Now

  • Imbrod says:

    Theaters and concert halls are responding to the results of questionnaires recently emailed to their patrons. Presenters are desperate to sell tickets, so if people don’t want to wear masks (and CDC says masks are unnecessary) then the policies are adjusted. Until the next wave…

  • Karden says:

    I’ve seen people wearing masks while driving all alone in a car. If people live with a lot of fear, apprehension and superstition in their life, I hope they at least wash their hands a lot and follow other codes of good hygiene.

  • Snark Shark says:

    It was time to move on months ago, congrats for catching up to the rest of the civilized world.

  • It’s Been Over says:

    If you are still very concerned about COVID at this point, might I suggest taking advantage of any mental health coverage from your insurance provider?

  • Disappointed performance attendee says:

    Very short-sighted, especially now that Covid numbers are significantly increasing daily in NYC. Concert halls felt relatively safe with vaccine requirements and mask mandates.
    Now, all of those protections are gone. I, for one, will go to fewer performances now.