No, Fauci Didn’t Say Live Theater Won’t Come Back For Another Year

No, Fauci Didn’t Say Live Theater Won’t Come Back For Another Year
(photo: Ludovic Bertron/Flickr)

This has blown up across many outlets online and I feel the need to underscore Dr. Anthony Fauci’s true words.

Per the New York Times, he did not say it would be more than a year after a coronavirus vaccine becomes available that theaters can open.

He said it would be a year before “people feel comfortable returning to theaters without masks.”

As theaters look to see how they might reopen with safety accommodations including mask use, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it will likely be more than a year before people feel comfortable returning to theaters without masks.

“If we get a really good vaccine and just about everybody gets vaccinated,” he said in an Instagram Live interview with Jennifer Garner on Wednesday, “you’ll have a degree of immunity in the general community that I think you can walk into a theater without a mask and feel like it’s comfortable that you’re not going to be at risk.”

He said that would likely not be until mid- to late 2021.

But that doesn’t mean he is saying when it would be safe to go to the theater without a mask. Dr. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, clarified in a phone interview on Friday that he was referring to when people could return to theatergoing at their pre-coronavirus comfort levels. “Words like ‘safe’ are charged,” he said. “I’m talking about the general trend of when we’ll start to feel comfortable going back to normal if we get a safe and effective vaccine.”

It’s an important difference to note because Broadway and regional theaters may open by January or February. The pandemic situation changes weekly.

So, folks, please don’t misconstrue Dr. Fauci’s comments to mean we need to write Broadway and live theater off for another whole year.

It’s not what he said.