'Springsteen on Broadway' reopens in NYC, faces protest over vaccine 'segregation'

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Protesters demonstrated outside rocker Bruce Springsteen’s “Springsteen on Broadway” show in New York City on Saturday night, complaining that only vaccinated fans were being allowed inside the theater, according to reports. 

The demonstrators held up signs with messages such as, “Bruce Springsteen is for segregation on Broadway”; “We demand Equal Rights”; “Vaccine Mandates violate Bodily Autonomy”; and “My Body My Choice,” a sign more frequently held by women advocating for abortion rights. 

Concertgoers for the sold-out show were required to produce proof of vaccination to enter the St. James Theater, according to NJ.com. 

“Springsteen on Broadway” was the first show to reopen in New York City’s famed theater district after it shut down last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Theatrely reported. 

At times arguments broke out between the protesters and concertgoers waiting to have their tickets scanned, but it appeared to remain mostly peaceful, according to reports. 

At first, the venue was going to admit only those who received FDA-approved vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. But after a backlash, the venue updated its policy last week, saying Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine would be permissible as well. Many people in Canada have received AstraZeneca.

Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns the St. James Theater, reportedly said in a statement, “Following amended New York State guidelines, we are now permitted to welcome guests who are fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine to Springsteen On Broadway.”

Bruce Springsteen is seen in New York City, Oct. 23, 2019. (Associated Press)

Springsteen guitarist Steven Van Zandt tweeted of the policy reversal, “Many of you have asked. Here’s the answer. There were many complications to overcome. Regulations- national, state, city, theater, etc-changing constantly. Happy ending for the fans.”

The theater made a vaccine exception for youths under 16, fans with disabilities or those with “sincerely held” religious beliefs. They would be required to show proof of a negative test and wear a mask during the concert, according to NJ.com. 

The "Springsteen On Broadway" marquee is seen on reopening night at the St. James Theatre on Saturday, June 26, 2021, in New York City. (Associated Press)

The show originally ran on Broadway for more than 200 shows between 2017 and 2018, Theatrely reported. 

Its current, limited run will continue into September. 

Anti-vaxxers also protested outside the Foo Fighters concert in Los Angeles earlier this month for a fully-vaccinated crowd, according to The Los Angeles Times. 

“Those of us who have healthy immune systems should be able to enjoy these freedoms just like anybody else,” one protester said outside the Agoura Hills venue. 

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