Broadway Goes Dark as Governor Bans Gatherings of 500+ People Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Broadway theaters will suspend shows for the next month as the coronavirus spreads.
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Broadway theaters will suspend all shows as of Thursday for the next month after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide ban Thursday on gatherings of more than 500 people in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Performances are scheduled to resume on April 13.

The rule goes into effect for Broadway theaters in Manhattan at 5 p.m. ET Thursday and the rest of the state on Friday at 5 p.m. The move is a big blow to the New York tourism industry, with the New York Times estimating that Broadway attracted 14.8 million patrons and grossed $1.8 billion last season. 

"We have already spoken to the theaters about these new measures and they agreed," Cuomo said on Twitter. "We are taking new actions to reduce the density of people across the state." 

Cuomo said that facilities with an occupancy of 500 or fewer will have to reduce the legal capacity by 50%.

“Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatre goers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals,” president of the Broadway League, Charlotte St. Martin, said Thursday.

Broadway is the latest entertainment industry to shutter over the past 48 hours.

The National Hockey League said it would suspend play amid the coronavirus outbreak, less than a day after the NBA announced that it was suspending its season after a player tested positive for the infection.

Major League Soccer said it was suspending its season for 30 days on Thursday due to the coronavirus.

The NCAA ordered its signature March Madness basketball tournament, set to begin next week, to take place without fan attendance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo recently ordered schools, temples, churches and other public gathering facilities to close in a large part of New Rochelle to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Located in New York's Westchester County, about a 40-minute drive northeast of Midtown Manhattan, New Rochelle has the majority the state's confirmed cases of the illness. 

Cuomo again said more, faster testing is necessary.

“As far as I’m concerned, we are way behind in testing determining how many people are actually infected,” Cuomo said.

-Tony Owusu contributed reporting to this story