Suffolk Theater announces vaccination, COVID test requirement for entry to all events

All patrons and staff attending the Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead will be required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test to enter for concerts and events, the theater announced Tuesday.

“We appreciate your understanding as we try to make the best decisions for the safety of our patrons, our staff, and our artists,” the statement said.

Anyone attending the Suffolk Theater can show their vaccination card or the Excelsior Pass, which is a digital pass through New York State that shows proof of vaccination. Information on the Excelsior Pass can be found here. For anyone who is not fully vaccinated, the theater will accept a negative COVID test within 72 hours.

The announcement from the Suffolk Theater follows similar requirements from Broadway, AEG Presents — the world’s second largest live music company — and other theaters and festivals on Long Island, according to the theater’s statement.

The requirements are for “the safety of our patrons and very importantly, our employees and artists,” the statement said.

The Suffolk Theater closed at the beginning of the pandemic last year and formally announced a reopening plan June 1. The plan was to resume operations Aug. 27. The reopening on that evening will kick off with a performance by Lords of 52nd Street — Billy Joel’s Original Hitmakers. Doors, the bar and restaurant open at 6:30 p.m. with the show at 8 p.m.

“We have received much feedback and very passionate arguments on all sides of the vaccination discussions – and we recognize that there are no shortage of valid and important considerations on all sides of this issue,” the theater’s statement said.

The vaccination/COVID test policy is subject to change as circumstances surrounding the pandemic continue to evolve, the theater said.

The New York area professional sports teams had vaccination and testing requirements for entry when fans were first allowed back in late winter. Capacity limits gradually increased and by mid-May, arenas like Madison Square Garden were at near full capacity with fans all required to show proof of vaccination. Cases of COVID-19 have been steadily increasing since mid-July, largely due to the more transmissible Delta variant.

Suffolk County is currently at a 4% positivity rate on a seven-day average, according to the Suffolk County Department of Health.

COVID tests can be done at a number of different locations, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and urgent care facilities.

More information on vaccines can be found here.