Here’s how Philly’s major arts venues are dealing with latest COVID restrictions

Here’s how museum and performance institutions have responded to Mayor Kenney’s COVID restrictions.

Philadelphia Art Museum

People gather on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Updated: 10:30 a.m. Thursday


The City of Philadelphia has just initiated new COVID restrictions, in response to a new rise in infections and hospitalization rates due to the delta variant. Now, all indoor activities — including business, restaurants, and cultural venues — must either require face masks or proof of vaccination. Any outdoor activity involving more than 1000 people must require masks.

Here are the policies of some of Philadelphia larger attractions:

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art had already canceled a block party planned for this weekend on the East Terrace (i.e. atop the Rocky Steps) that was supposed to be headlined by rapper Ant Clemons, over concerns about the spread of the delta variant. In response to Mayor Kenney’s additional COVID restrictions today, a PMA spokesperson said, in a statement, “the museum will align, as always, with the city’s evolving COVID-19 restrictions and adjust our guidelines accordingly for the safety of staff and visitors.“

Made in America

The Made in America festival is so far still on for Labor Day weekend, according to its social media posts. The city is in communication with the festival’s producer, RocNation, regarding COVID safety standards, and keeping a close eye on the aftermath of Lollapalooza in Chicago two weeks ago, a four-day music festival that attracted more than 385,000 people. Lollapalooza required all attendees to be either vaccinated or have a negative COVID test. According to observers, the festival has not caused a spike in Chicago’s infection rate.

In response to new guidelines, the festival will now require all concertgoers to wear face masks even if they are vaccinated. To enter the festival, they must also present printed proof that they are fully vaccinated or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. 

The negative test result must be obtained within 48 hours of attending the festival.  

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

The Mann Center, the open-air venue which can host as many as 14,000 people, had required unvaccinated patrons wear masks while on its campus. It is now stepping up that requirement to all patrons. “Everyone ages 2 and above, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks in all areas of the Mann campus unless actively eating or drinking,” the Mann said in a statement. “Patrons should bring their own masks to the Mann.”

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Philly Fringe Festival

The Philly Fringe Festival, which will return to predominantly in-person performances in September, had already put into place a requirement that all staff, artists, and attendees wear masks. “We are very glad that the city‘s announcement aligns with our initial mask policy, that all audience members wear masks during indoor performances,” the festival wrote in a statement. “The team is working to gain clarity on whether today’s announcement has any additional implications for on-stage performers and live performance specifically.”

The Barnes Foundation

​​The Barnes Foundation already limits the number of people allowed inside the relatively small gallery rooms, and had imposed a “strongly recommended” mask guideline. As of August 12, that recommendation will be stepped up to a mandate.

The Kimmel Center

The Kimmel Center is currently closed with a planned reopening on September 18. We have seen wild fluctuations in COVID safety recommendations over the last 17 months, and they will likely change again sometime in the next five weeks. In a statement the Center said, “we continue to monitor best practices and follow the guidance of the CDC, local, and state health officials.” The Kimmel Center is currently updating its buildings with, among other things, upgraded HVAC systems to maximize ventilation, and increased disinfection practices.

WHYY’s Aaron Moselle contributed reporting.

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