- 04 May 21
Most productions will likely return this September, despite restrictions set to lift on May 19th.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced that capacity restrictions on Broadway shows, restaurants, bars, museums, gyms, salons and retail shops will be lifted by May 19.
Cuomo added that social distancing measures will remain in effect in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unless all attendees provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result. Capacity limits on major, outdoor stadiums will remain at 33% currently.
However, Broadway has indicated that - from a financial outlook - September would be the likely date most shows would return to the stage, given logistical complications.
Theatre shows understandably need time to rehearse, recast and develop safety protocols onstage, backstage and for the audience. It's a process that will take more than a few weeks.
Given that the six-foot social distancing rules would not change, this may impact the ability of numerous shows to reopen. Broadway producers claim they can't afford to reopen shows at less than full capacity.
The legendary New York venue area has remained dark since March 20, 2020, with the reopening date pushed back time and again as the coronavirus pandemic has raged on. But with vaccination rates rising in New York City and throughout the state, the industry is starting to see signs of life, and some shows have signaled their plans for a return as early as September.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also indicated his goal to fully reopen the city by July 1.
"We applaud the Governor's recent announcement easing capacity limits on performance venues in New York State," The Broadway League stated in response to the Governor's announcement.
"We are encouraged by this good news, which is a long-awaited indication that New York is truly on the road to recovery. We look forward to reopening at full capacity and are working to safely welcome audiences and employees back to Broadway theatres this fall. As always, we continue to work closely with our elected officials and will share more information as soon as plans become finalised."
Actor's Equity, the union representing Broadway performers, also welcomed the news, adding that it looked forward to a reopening that "prioritises the safety of the workers."
Watch Governor Andrew Cuomo's full announcement from May 3 below:
In New York City giving a COVID update and making an announcement. Watch live: https://t.co/y2mtbDaQVJ
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 3, 2021