UPDATE: Fauci has clarified his statements. Here is a statement from an interview with the New York Times,
“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.'”
You can see his full clarification here.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United State’s top expert on infectious diseases, said theaters will not be able to open or perform with full capacities for another year or more.
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, in a conversation with Jennifer Garner via Instagram live, Fauci made his predictions as he discussed the coming flu season, vaccines, and lockdowns.
When award-winning actress Garner asked the doctor, “When are we going to be able to sit in a theater and watch our favorite performers up on stage again,” Fauci said, “I think it’s gonna be a combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public health measures.”
He noted that even if the country found a vaccine in November or December, the majority of the population would not have it until Fall 2021.
He said, “If we have a vaccine that’s a knockout vaccine — that’s 85% – 90% effective. I don’t think we’ll get that, I’ll settle for 70 percent effective. If we get a really good vaccine and just about everybody gets vaccinated, 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 aren’t going to be at risk.”
The news comes as several states in the country are reopening movie theaters but broadway shows and opera houses remain shut down until next year. U.S. opera houses are pivoting to online seasons with the Metropolitan Opera slated to reopen on Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, some organizations have canceled their entire 2020-21 seasons.
In Europe, numerous opera houses have reopened with revamped seasons and socially distanced audiences. Some countries, most notably Spain and France, are experiencing the threat of a second wave.