NY Gov Cuomo Aims to Reopen Broadway and other Arts Organizations

The state of New York will undertake an extensive COVID-19 testing plan as a way to help facilitate the reopening of arts organizations across the state including the city’s previously shuttered Broadway theater houses.

According to CNBC, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that there will be policies put in place to guide the reopening. “The state would likely impose a cap on audience sizes, require every person to provide a negative Covid-19 test before entering and require proper air ventilation systems in theaters.”

Gov. Cuomo said that New York’s first steps to reopen will begin on Feb. 20 to begin the start of a new entertainment initiative called, “NY PopsUp.” The program will organize more than 300 pop-up performances over the course of 100 days that will also be free to watch. Opening weekend will include performances at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan for health care workers. Performers include Chris Rock, Renee Fleming, Billy Porter, Patti Smith, Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin.

This plan includes the reopening of select venues, such as the Glimmerglass Festival’s Alice Bush Opera Theater near Cooperstown, N.Y.

Prior to the announcement of this initiative, the impact of the pandemic affected theater performers and patrons. In New York City’s theater district, patrons who had purchased tickets for shows with performances through May 30 were advised later in October to contact sellers for refunds or exchanges because of the unlikeliness that Broadway would reopen before that date. According to NYTix, previous possible reopening dates were April 12, 2020, April 29, 2020, June 1 2020, June 7 2020, Sept. 6, 2020 and May 30, 2021.

During a regular press briefing, the governor said that the future of live theater starts with taking the necessary safety precautions. “Would I go see a play and sit in a playhouse with 150 people? If the 150 people were tested, and they were all negative, yes, I would do that. I think reopening with testing is going to be the key.” said Cuomo.