Could Broadway theaters finally get the green light to reopen?

Governor Cuomo has announced a plan to begin Broadway opening again.

Photo: Hamilton at Richard Rodgers Theatre (Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash)

UPDATE: On March 25, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated a Coronavirus vaccination site will open, dedicated to theater industry workers on Broadway. Mr de Blasio said it will be “a year to turn things around… It’s time to raise the curtain and bring Broadway back.”

With Broadway theaters being shut for the best part of a year, it seems as if the prolonged shutdown will continue for months in end. But, as well as the New York Pop Up Festival taking place statewide, a framework has been set out for the potential reopening of Broadway theaters and live entertainment venues. 

As reported in Broadway News, New York state could reopen venues through a combination of quick Covid tests and socially distanced seating. Although audience numbers would be significantly lower than pre-lockdown levels, it’s the first step to Broadway being back open again.

Speaking about the framework, Governor Cuomo said: “The overall effort is headed towards reopening with testing. And we’re going to be smart, but also aggressive about it.” He also said that Broadway theatres could realistically open if everyone was proven to be Covid negative. As long as all safety protocols were signed off, “You can open a Broadway stage with a set percentage of occupants, where people have tested prior to walking into that Broadway theater.”

During the seven-month Pop Up Festival announced recently, small crowd sizes will be introduced for live performances. This will be the next step since the outdoor Bills Stadium reopened its doors, with up to 7,000 fans attending games. Currently, there’s talks for Broadway theaters to be used as vaccination centers with the Broadway League writing to President Joe Biden.

On February 23, venues with a seating capacity of over 10,000 will be allowed to reopen. Although no Broadway theaters have this high a seating capacity, it could be the start of encouraging smaller venues to open again.

Governor Cuomo’s plans have been met with some disagreement — Broadway leaders have previously stated theatres can’t open until Coronavirus levels are low enough to sustain full houses in auditoriums. At present, Broadway theaters are closed to May 30

Photo: Hamilton at Richard Rodgers Theatre (Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash)