Glowing, lit up letters and twinkling gold lights announced the return of the hit Broadway musical, “Hamilton”, to the Fox Theatre.
Since the Fox Theatre re-opened at full capacity, many new COVID-19 safety protocols have been implemented. On Aug. 22, “Hamilton” premiered as the first show performed at the theater with 100 percent capacity.
To guarantee the safety of patrons, the Fox requires masks at all times.
After a four-hour training session in July, and a shadow event at the first performance of “King Crimson,” some of the staff, including usher Jim Bernstein said they were prepared for the theater reopening.
“There are many new protocols in place to keep people safe; masks are required, everything is touchless and there are hand sanitizer stations everywhere,” Bernstein said. “All staff have to get their temperature checked and are required to wear masks.”
For Midtown sophomore Ryen Hall, attending a “Hamilton” performance felt risky.
“I wore a mask; so, I felt fine, but before I went, my grandma called me and told me to wear a double mask, which made me more nervous than I already was,” Hall said. “I ended up wearing two masks, and I was glad that I did. I felt a lot more comfortable.”
With the theater at full capacity, people sat close together and socialized in large crowds.
“I wish the seats were farther apart, everyone was really close together and it was kind of nerve wracking,” Hall said. “When people were eating without their masks on, it made me nervous.”
The Fox also installed a new filtration system in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
“The filtration system was changed in preparation for the reopening,” Bernstein said. “It was upgraded to the most efficient system in the country.”
The building-wide Ultraviolet Germicidal Irrigation system inactivates 99 percent of viruses on every air cycle and has upgraded filters. It is CDC-recommended and helps decrease the spread of the virus.
Frequent theatergoer Nithya Amaraneni said she felt comfortable attending the performance.
“I’m vaccinated, and I really liked the fact that masks were required,” Amaraneni said. “I only saw two people the entire time without their masks on, pretty much everyone was following the rules.”
However, there are some exceptions to the mask mandate, such as while eating or drinking. To minimize contact, ordering food and drinks is done through the Fox Theatre mobile app.
The Fox Theater is the only Performing Arts venue in the state of Georgia to achieve the Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s STAR accreditation. The theater was awarded for implementing the most efficient protocols for cleaning, disinfecting and preventing the spread of COVID19.
With all of the new protocols and safety procedures in place, theatergoers said they were able to relax and enjoy the performance.
“The whole thing went very smoothly, I didn’t even have to wait in line,” Amaraneni said. “I scanned my mobile tickets and walked right in.”
With “Hamilton” being the first Broadway level show performed outside of the Broadway theater, the first few performances at the Fox went well.
“I definitely feel like the theater did as much as it could to prevent Covid by enforcing masks and I felt pretty safe,” Hall said.