Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that venues will be able to reopen by April. This includes plays, concerts, and other performances finally returning with a long-awaited live audience.
Venues Reopen at Reduced Capacity
Starting April 2nd, arts and entertainment and event venues can reopen at 33%, announced Cuomo at a recent press conference. All attendees will have to wear a mask and remain socially distanced.
Indoor venues can welcome 100 people and outdoor venues can accept up to 200 people. If venues want to increase their capacity numbers they can do so if all attendees test negative prior to entering. This could raise indoor capacity to 150 people and outdoor capacity to 500 people.
Many are seeing this reopening—along with the uptick of vaccinations—as a shining light coming from a very dark and long endured tunnel. Though the New York COVID rates are constantly observed and closely monitored, it’s important to remember that as things begin to reopen, people must remain safe and cautious.
Everyone wants the normalcy of a pre-pandemic world to return but that luxury can’t be sustained if we don’t go about it carefully. However, Governor Cuomo did pride his city stating that “New Yorkers have done a tremendous job working to defeat COVID, and we’re gradually loosening restrictions as the numbers reduce and the public health improves.”
Reviving New York with the Arts
NYC has been deprived of its engaging art scene since the pandemic first arose. Broadway shut down almost exactly one year ago, and concerts have become a thing of the past.
However, as time progressed, the world and New York alike in many ways. Both have seen innovative ways in which creatives came together to safely distribute arts and entertainment to the masses safely. Whether that be through Zoom, bubble concerts, or live streams.
Notorious venues have commented about their reopening including the Lincoln Center. According to the Times, Isabel Sinistore, the spokeswoman for Lincoln Center said “[w]e welcome the new guidelines and want to serve as many people on our campus as is safe.”
Lincoln Center will officially open on April 17th with 10 outdoor rehearsal and performance spaces. Rumors of performances to occur at famous venues such as the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage, and the National Black Theater has been mentioned.
Difficulties for Small Venues to Reopen
However, for smaller venues, the decision to reopen may not be so easy. Operating at full costs with nearly a third of the capacity pre-pandemic may cause more damage than actual profit. Businesses and venues have already lost so much money this past year. It’s hard to make a decision that won’t be fiscally detrimental when it comes to reopening at a limited capacity.
For example, the president of Blue Note Jazz Club, Steven Bensusan, told the Times that “[i]t doesn’t make financial sense for the Blue Note to open with only 66 seats for shows.” And though this Greenwich favorite has many adoring customers, it might not be enough to keep the doors open for too long.
Cuomo made a statement that “[i]t’s clear that if we remain vigilant, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel. While we continue to expand access to the vaccine throughout the state, New Yorkers should double down on the behaviors that make such an important [difference] fighting this pandemic—washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing. This is a tough footrace, but the infection rate is down and the vaccination rate is up, and New Yorkers will get through this together as long as we stay touch and keep this momentum heading in the right direction.”
Hopefully, this right direction will lead to many more inches and steps towards bringing back what was such a commonplace in New York of live performances that now seem like such an indulgence. Hell, if you see anyone performing in the subway station now you actually may linger just to hear another voice than the one inside your head rather than hurrying by as you would have a year ago. Wild how things have changed. But cheers to a brighter future ahead as New Yorkers are given another glimmer of hope in these dreadful circumstances.
Featured image source from: Unsplash
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