Broadway goes dark amid coronavirus concerns

Despite efforts to keep their doors open amid a growing public health crisis, Broadway theaters in New York City are going dark starting at 5 p.m. March 12 because of coronavirus, according to Playbill.

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo restricted gatherings with more than 500 people, except schools, hospitals and mass transit, effective March 13.

There are currently 31 musicals and plays open on the Great White Way, but the public health has become a concern since theaters are often tightly packed. Broadway as an industry is particularly at risk, given that patrons skew older and it relies heavily on tourism.

Increased safety measures were taken in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus prior to the closure, including additional venue cleanings, limited backstage access and recommending to end stage door interactions between performers and attendees.

Cuomo was initially hesitant to close down Broadway, saying in a press conference he was conflicted about how to handle large public gatherings.

“You don’t want to shut down society, because that’s massively disruptive — to the economy, to life, etc., but your main concern here is the public health crisis, and it’s balancing the two,” he said.