Corona Chronicles: Broadway Extends Shutdown to May 2021

Broadway Extends Shutdown to May 2021


Closed broadway theaters during the coronavirus pandemic on April 08, 2020 in New York City - Getty - H 2020
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images


Performances won’t resume until more than a year after being halted by COVID-19 pandemic.

The Broadway shutdown has been extended to May 30, 2021, the Broadway League announced today.

The news extends the performance halt, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by five months after productions had been paused through the end of 2020.

The initial shutdown occurred on March 12, 2020, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 500 people in a bid to slow the infection rate of the then novel coronavirus, when 31 productions were running, including eight in previews and eight in rehearsals ahead of a spring opening.

The closure was initially through April, then extended to June, followed by Labor Day and the end of the year.

The extension means that Broadway will be closed for more than a year, an unprecedented shutdown, by the time it reopens in 2021.

“With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again,” Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement.

New York was initially hit hard by the pandemic, with as many as 11,000 new cases a day in April, before a robust response led to a drop below 1,000 new cases a day for three months from June-September. In recent weeks, however, a number of zip codes in New York City and the state as a whole have seen spikes in new cases, leading state authorities to increase testing and tracing efforts in those locations. Still, none of the hot-spot zip codes identified by Cuomo are in Broadway’s borough of Manhattan.

After closing all but essential businesses in March, New York state has slowly reopened, in a phased, data-driven approach, but movie theaters and other performance venues remain closed. Indoor dining in restaurants, at a significantly reduced capacity, and gyms have only recently reopened.

New York is also still advising travelers from states with a daily positivity rate of more than 10 percent or 10 per 100,000 people to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days, which would seem to dissuade tourists, at least from states with high infection rates, from traveling to New York City.