Broadway is going dark, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday. The news comes as the coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread throughout the state, with more than 200 confirmed cases.
“We are taking new actions to reduce the density of people across the state,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter following a live TV press conference. “Starting Friday at 5pm, gatherings with 500 people or more will not be permitted in NYS. Additionally, for facilities with an occupancy of 500 or fewer, we are reducing the legal capacity by 50%.”
He added that “for Broadway theaters in Manhattan, these rules will go into effect at 5pm TODAY. We have already spoken to the theaters about these new measures and they agreed.”
For Broadway theaters in Manhattan, these rules will go into effect at 5pm TODAY.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 12, 2020
We have already spoken to the theaters about these new measures and they agreed.
The closure coincides with a call for reduced public gatherings of 500 people or more as the state tries to reduce the number of cases and spread of the virus. In addition to New York City’s theater world, this will also affect sporting events, concerts and parades that were previously scheduled. Earlier in the day, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Carnegie Hall announced that it was closing its doors to the public.
Following the governor’s announcement, the Broadway League said that productions will restart the week of April 13.
“Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Broadway has the power to inspire, enrich and entertain, and together we are committed to making that vital spirit a reality. Once our stages are lit again, we will welcome fans back with open arms so that they can continue to experience the joy, heart, and goodwill that our shows so passionately express every night.”
The shuttering of Broadway follows recent announcements that the NBA has suspended the remainder of its season following two players testing positive for COVID-19, the MLS suspending its season for at least 30 days and several major studios canceling or postponing major movie releases, such as A Quiet Place II and No Time to Die. Meanwhile, all the New York-based late-night shows have announced they will tape without any live audiences until concerns subside.
Additionally, the sister of Matthew Broderick, who is set to return to Broadway with wife Sarah Jessica Parker in the upcoming play Plaza Suite, recently tested positive for COVID-19 and has been hospitalized.