New York is continuing its push towards a full reopening in 2021, and Broadway will be back in September, per an announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo Wednesday. The famed New York City venues that have been shuttered since March of 2020 due to the coronavirus will be able to open at full capacity on September 14.
Tickets for these shows will be able to be sold beginning Thursday, May 6.
“Broadway is at the core of our New York identity, and a big part of our economy which employs countless performers and show creators, and beginning this September, the show will go on,” says Cuomo. “Visitors from all around the world have come to New York to experience the arts and culture and see iconic performances on Broadway, and sadly, the pandemic put this unique New York experience on pause. Thankfully, as we continue to monitor the data and reopen our economy, we are now back on track to allow full capacity performances on Broadway to resume beginning this September, bringing back this beloved world-famous attraction.”
Cuomo’s Broadway announcement came close on the heels of the announcement of the removal of capacity restrictions on other venues in the state including live music spaces and bars. That is scheduled to go into effect later this month, but is subject to the continued requirement that venues can only hold as many patrons as CDC guidance on social distancing will allow – which means that these entertainment spaces will have a de facto crowd limit based on how many square feet they can space out groups.
Today’s announcement contains no such caveat, though it is unclear whether or not all spaces will be allowed to reopen to full capacity at the same time that Broadway venues can if the CDC guidance hasn’t changed by mid-September – or if Broadway would have to cancel ticket sales if CDC guidance hasn’t changed but they have a sold out full house reopening crowd due to attend their opening night. Instead, there is language in the announcement indicating that “Broadway stakeholders will remain flexible and adapt to applicable health protocols” including face coverings, screening, ventillation and cleaning, but no mention regarding social distancing or crowd limits.
“On behalf of the nearly 100,000 people who make their living on Broadway – on stage, backstage, and throughout the city and state – we are immensely gratified by the support of Governor Cuomo today,” says Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin. “Restarting Broadway is a complex endeavor, requiring long lead times for productions the need to reconnect with a sustaining audience from across the country and around the world. Today’s green light by the Governor to put our shows on sale now for the fall is vital to our success. Broadway is the beating heart of NYC tourism and we can’t wait for the day soon when our hearts will beat before a live joyful audience.”
New York is in the rapid process of reopening, having been largely shut down since last March as the onetime epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. Mayor Bill de Blaiso has pledged assistance from the city to get things back running, which will help restore a theatrical industry that brought around 250,000 consumers to performances every week pre-pandemic, with an economic estimated to be nearly $15 billion that supports 97,000 jobs in the area.