The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is requiring all patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to attend any performance at Kleinhans Music Hall.
And, at least for the time being, patrons will have to wear a mask inside the hall, including while seated.
The announcement came Tuesday morning, a day after the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
"The safety of our musicians, staff, volunteers and community is our #1 priority, and we will continue to follow all local, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines," BPO said in a statement released Tuesday. "No matter the scenario, we are dedicated to our mission of providing beautiful symphonic music for the Western New York community and beyond."
The new policy goes into effect Sept. 11 through Oct. 30 "and may be extended if community transmission levels of COVID-19 remain high," the BPO said. "Many of our neighboring cultural venues in the downtown region are also announcing similar requirements," the orchestra added.
Here's what the BPO will require:
• All patrons must show proof of being fully vaccinated (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson and Johnson) or a negative Covid-19 test (either a PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time or an antigen test taken within 24 hours of the performance start time). You'll also have to show some form of photo ID.
• Children under 12 are exempt.
• Masks must be worn at all times and if you don't have one, one will be provided to you.
The BPO is also requiring all staff, musicians, guest artists and contractors working at Kleinhans Music Hall to follow the same rules. Musicians who cannot play their instruments while masked – woodwinds and brass – are exempt from the mask requirement but will be tested prior to each performance.
Anyone who wants a refund can contact the Kleinhans box office at (716) 885-5000.