Broadway will shut down operations for the next month in accordance with a state-wide ban of public gatherings with over 500 people.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all Broadway theaters will be shuttered effective at 5 p.m. March 12. A ban on all other large public gatherings – barring mass transit, hospitals, schools and nursing homes – is set to go into effect at 5 p.m. March 13. Cuomo shared that the bans will be in place for at least the next month as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
“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 Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin in a statement. “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 announcement comes after several New York institutions announced they would suspend operations for the time being, including the Metropolitan Museum, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. Until now, Broadway officials have maintained that theaters would remain open and the show would go on, despite a theater usher testing positive for the virus. In an effort to drum up slowed attendance due to health concerns, many shows slashed their ticket prices earlier this week.
The last time Broadway theaters were shut down for an extended period of time came amid a stagehand strike in 2007. Theaters were closed for 19 days as a result.
As of this writing, New York State has seen 328 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 112 of which came overnight. Cuomo confirmed that 148 of the cases are tied to Westchester County while 95 are in New York City.