The Santa Fe Opera

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Based on the Governor’s recently updated COVID Safe Practices for Entertainment Venues, we are currently reevaluating our seating plans. Ticket sales remain on pause. Please check back later for updates.

white baffles adjacent to theater

Health and Safety

Supporting the Safety, Health and Artistry of our 2021 Season

May 5, 2021

The Santa Fe Opera will be updating this page regularly with our latest plans for the safe reopening of our venue. The date of the most recent update will display at the top of this page.

The health and safety of our audience, staff and artists are of the highest priority as we plan for our 2021 Season.

Our reopening protocols are being developed in collaboration with public health officials, experts in epidemiology and sanitization and our local hospital partner CHRISTUS St. Vincent. We have engaged a leading COVID-safety consultant and added a full-time COVID Compliance & Safety Manager to our staff. As we get closer to the opening of our 2021 Season, we will update our plans according to the latest medical advice.

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General Information

Health and Safety: Audience Participation Required!

Our safety strategy is founded on four principles and applies both backstage and front-of-house:

Masks – Everyone on Santa Fe Opera property is required to wear a face mask at all times. Masks must fit properly and cover the mouth and nose with the exception of while actively eating or drinking. Masks should follow CDC Guidelines.

Social Distancing – Please follow posted social distancing guidance, we ask that you and your fellow patrons maintain a safe distance at all times.

Cleaning & Hygiene – We ask that all patrons, staff and artists frequently wash their hands and use the hand sanitizer dispensers located throughout campus. Cleaning and disinfection products and procedures specified for use during the current novel coronavirus outbreak will be used to frequently sanitize our stairway railings, bathrooms, elevators and other high touch surfaces.

Ventilation Fresh Air! The Santa Fe Opera is an outdoor venue. Interior spaces supporting the venue have been reviewed and will continue to be monitored to ensure that sufficient ventilation is being provided relative to the maximum potential occupancy at any given point in time.

Before You Arrive

NM COVID-19 Restrictions

New Mexico is operating on a phased reopening framework. Santa Fe County is currently at the Turquoise Level which permits entertainment venues, including the Santa Fe Opera, to operate. We continue to practice all guidelines as recommended by the CDC and the New Mexico Department of Health. Please visit the New Mexico Red to Green Framework web page for more information.

Visitors from Outside of NM

Travelers arriving in New Mexico should be tested for COVID-19 as promptly as possible following their arrival to New Mexico. Please visit the New Mexico Department of Health web page for the latest travel restrictions in our state, and the CDC Travel Page for best practices while in transit.

What types of face masks are required at the opera?

The Santa Fe Opera asks all patrons to wear a face mask. Masks continue to be required for large outdoor gatherings. The Santa Fe Opera follows CDC recommendations for masks. Your face mask should:

  • Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
  • Completely cover your nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps
  • Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
  • Single layer masks, gaiters or masks with visible exhalation valves or vents are not acceptable.


  • Ticket orders are accepted via phone or online. No walk-up orders will be taken by the Box Office.
  • Tickets will be delivered as print-at-home or mobile tickets only approximately two weeks prior to your performance.
  • If you plan to show your ticket on your phone, have your ticket ready for scanning before you get to the entrance. WiFi will be available at the Opera; however, we highly recommend taking a screenshot of your bar code before you arrive at the opera.
  • Due to evolving public health guidelines, we are unable to provide exact seat locations at the time of purchase. Your exact seating location will be sent to you at least two weeks prior to the performance.
  • Prior to arriving at the opera, we ask all patrons to self-screen against the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.

We encourage anyone who is feeling unwell not to attend a performance. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, please call the Box Office prior to your performance to discuss your ticket options. We will work with patrons on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Tracing

To support contact tracing, when you purchase your tickets you will be asked to provide your name and contact details.
If you give a ticket away, please be sure to note the name and contact information of the person who receives your ticket(s).

When You Arrive

  • Masks are required as a condition of entry and patronage.
  • In response to current social distancing guidelines and to ensure the safety of our patrons, staff and artists, the opera’s current capacity is significantly reduced. If those guidelines change, we may be able to increase our capacity to a level closer to the current public health order of 75% capacity.
  • Please follow the direction of our parking lot attendants. Maintain social distancing in the parking lot and wear a face mask upon exiting your vehicle. Please be aware that your face mask must follow CDC guidelines.
  • Have your ticket ready for scanning before you get to the entrance. WiFi will be available at the opera, however we highly recommend taking a screenshot of your ticket before you arrive at the opera.
  • Frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitization is recommended of all patrons. Convenient hand sanitizer stations with at least 60% alcohol content will be located throughout campus for use by patrons, staff and artists.
  • Interactions with staff will be limited. Acrylic shields will be placed between staff and audience members at points of contact when possible. If a shield is not in place, please maintain six feet of distance between yourself and the staff member assisting you.
  • Audience members will remain socially distant from all those not a part of their immediate ticket group including staff and other patrons. Social distance markers will be placed where guests and audience queues may form.
  • There will be intermissions during each of our operas in the 2021 Season. During intermission, patrons should remain seated with their PODs unless utilizing the restrooms. We encourage all patrons to leave their seats during the performance when they need the facilities. Patrons will not be asked to wait for intermission to use the restrooms.
  • Exits will be staggered in order to maintain social distancing, please remain in your seat after the performance for instructions on when you may return to your car. We ask that you leave through your entry door/zone once instructed. This process should also allow for better flow of traffic out of the parking lot.

No-Contact Infrastructure has been adopted in as many areas as possible to reduce transmission of the virus, including:

  • Scanned entry
  • No contact payment platforms where payments occur
  • Use of digital communication platforms where possible
  • Restrooms with touchless fixtures, including faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers.

Zones & PODs

Tickets will include a specific Zone which will correspond to a designated seating area and restroom. We ask that patrons stay within their designated Zone for the duration of their visit to the Santa Fe Opera.

At the end of the performance, patrons will be asked to exit the theater in an orderly fashion based on their seating Zone.

In accordance with New Mexico state guidelines, patrons will be seated with their PODs.

  • A POD consists of a group of individuals who purchased their tickets together.
  • PODs shall not exceed six patrons.
  • PODs will be socially distanced from and may not interact with other PODs.


Patrons will be asked to:

  • Follow parking attendants’ instructions to support social distancing in our parking lots.
  • Maintain social distancing while in the parking lots and wear a face mask. Please be aware that your face mask must follow CDC guidelines.
  • Please look for Santa Fe Opera Ushers and signage as you approach and enter the theater. Ushers will help direct you to the correct entrance gate indicated on your ticket and will be able to answer questions. Ushers will also be working to maintain our COVID Safe Practices, including social distancing and wearing of face masks.


  • We have recently retrofitted our restrooms with touchless fixtures, including faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers. The air quality in all restrooms is being regularly monitored and air filtration has been upgraded where necessary.
  • We have over 100-bathroom stalls in our theater complex, which will accommodate our decreased theater capacity, reduce line formation and allow for social distancing.
  • Additionally, in the 2021 Season patrons will not be asked to wait for intermission to use the restroom. We encourage patrons to leave their seats during the performance when needed.

Opera Shop & Events

Opera Shop

The Opera Shop will remain closed for in-person visits through Spring of 2021. However, purchases can be made online or by contacting the shop directly at or 505-986-5949. The Opera Shop will open for in-person visits for the 2021 Performance Season.

The Santa Fe Opera Shop will follow COVID-Safe Practices for Retail Establishments as outlined by the State of New Mexico.

  • High touch surfaces will be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
  • No-Contact Infrastructure has been adopted to reduce fomite transmission, including a no contact payment platform where payments occur.
  • Social distance markers will be placed where queues may form.
  • Textiles and other items that have been in contact with shoppers will be disinfected in a method corresponding with their designation.
  • Employees must be properly trained on handling, cleaning and disinfection before carrying out any such duties.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed at entry and near high touch areas.

Community Programs and Special Events

To focus our efforts on safely performing opera on stage, all special events on campus have been cancelled. Community programs and pre-performance lectures are being individually evaluated and updates will be published soon. In person backstage tours are suspended until further notice, this includes friends, family and VIP’s.