Since England’s theaters reopened without restrictions in July, one factor has been as notable because the motion onstage: the dearth of masks within the viewers.

In contrast to in Broadway theaters, patrons right here haven’t been required to put on face coverings, and lots of attendees have chosen to disregard preshow bulletins encouraging them to masks up.

A number of visiting theater critics have been left aghast. Laura Collins-Hughes, writing in The New York Times in September, stated that at “almost each manufacturing I noticed, there have been masses — typically a majority — of barefaced folks within the crowd, which felt reckless and delusional.”

Peter Marks, writing in The Washington Post in November, referred to as London’s theaters “persistently surprising as of late.” That had nothing to do with the motion onstage, he added; it was solely right down to the absence of masks.

Now, that picture could also be about to alter. On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made masks mandatory in stores and on public transportation in England, responding to the newly found Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

He didn’t make them necessary in theaters, however a number of venues have now accomplished so voluntarily. On Monday, the Royal Shakespeare Firm stated face coverings can be required at its theaters in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, until an attendee is below age 12 or has a medical exemption.

“We need to do all we will to make sure that we would not have to cancel performances and disappoint our audiences,” the corporate’s govt director, Catherine Mallyon, stated in a information launch.

Different theaters shortly adopted. On Monday, Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer and theater impresario, quietly strengthened guidelines for the six theaters he owns within the West Finish. His firm web site was updated to say, “All viewers members should put on a face overlaying all through their go to, besides when consuming and consuming, or if they’re medically exempt.” Beforehand, these theaters requested masks, however didn’t require them.

On Tuesday, the National Theater, the Royal Opera House, the English National Opera and the Old Vic additionally stated they’d make masks necessary.

The principles would possibly solely final a couple of weeks. The Nationwide Theater’s web site says the measure shall be in place till Dec. 19, “when the subsequent authorities assessment of Covid measures is due.”

Thus far, there seems to be little resistance to the modifications. Kate Evans, a spokeswoman for the Royal Shakespeare Firm, stated 30 folks had requested for refunds or to change their tickets for vouchers to see a future present for the reason that mandate was introduced, out of 6,000 who had booked to see its present present, “The Magician’s Elephant.”

“Nearly all of suggestions we’ve acquired across the choice has been very constructive,” she stated.