Broadway shows will suspend all performances “immediately” through April 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Broadway League, a national trade association.
The move comes in “support of the health and well-being of the theatre going public, as well as those who work in the theatre industry,” the association said.
“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.
The announcement came minutes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Broadway theaters in Manhattan could remain open but must operate at 50% of their regular audience capacity.
Gatherings of more than 500 people are banned except for schools, mass transit, hospitals and nursing homes, he said.
The rule was part of the idea of “social distancing,” or reducing the density of gatherings to stem the spread of coronavirus.
That comes a day after news that a part-time employee of two New York theater groups who recently worked at Broadway shows has tested positive for coronavirus.
The employee – an usher who works for both the Shubert and Nederlander Organizations – is currently under quarantine, according to a statement from the companies.
The individual most recently worked at Shubert’s Booth Theatre Tuesday through Friday of last week during performances of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”
The person also worked at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on February 25 and March 1 when it was showing the musical “SIX.” The Brooks Atkinson Theatre has been deep cleaned, according to the statement, provided by DKC/O&M public relations.
“Employees of the theaters and productions who may have been exposed were notified and advised to monitor their health diligently and follow best practices related to personal hygiene, as well as directed to stay at home if they are ill. In addition, we are urging any high-risk audience members who attended these performances in the past several days to follow similar guidance,” the statement said.
The two shows are continuing with performances.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, said Thursday new restrictions regarding gatherings and public events would “certainly” come soon.
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