Things look grim for those who are eager to feel safe in a theater of any kind in the near future. Broadway remains closed, yet movie theaters around the country have started to open en masse in recent weeks. Be that as it may, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top experts on infectious diseases, believes it will be at least a year, if not longer, before we can return to theaters without masks on.

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently took part in an Instagram Live discussion with Jennifer Garner. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been an important voice in the U.S. this year when it comes to health and safety. At one point, speaking about live theater, Garner asked, "When are we going to be able to sit in a theater and watch our favorite performers up on stage again?" Here's what Fauci had to say.

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"I think it's going to be a combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public-health measures."

While the question was posed about live theater, specifically, watching a play is in practice no different than sitting in a crowded movie theater. As such, this could be perceived as yet another blow, not only to the movie business, but live arts in general. Indoor concerts. Live theater. If it involves a crowd indoors, we are going to need masks to be even remotely safe for quite some time.

For the most part, the world's hopes are relying on an effective vaccine. There is some hope that a viable vaccine could be available by November. Even if that does happen, and Dr. Fauci has his doubts on one being available that soon, it would be about a year after that before it could be distributed to the entire population. Speaking further, Fauci had this to say.

"If we have a vaccine that's a knockout vaccine that's 85% to 90% effective, I don't think we'll get that. I'll settle for 70% 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."

As far as live theater goes, Broadway is closed at least for the rest of the year. Movie theaters, meanwhile, have slowly been getting new releases to draw in guests. But following the release of Tenet and The New Mutants, even more titles have been delayed. Most recently, Wonder Woman 1984, which will now arrive in December. Health experts have warned that indoor theaters pose health and safety risks, even with additional measures being taken by theater owners. Drive-ins, however, remain a relatively safe option and seem poised to remain a big part of the equation for the foreseeable future. You can check out the full conversation from Jennifer Garner's Instagram.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott