The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, announced plans to reopen New York’s world-famous Broadway theatre industry in a press conference held last Thursday.
The city will open COVID-19 vaccination sites on Broadway, and there will be mobile vaccination units for off-Broadway workers.
Pop-up testing sites will be created near theatres, and crowd management plans will be developed for before and after shows.
De Blasio is also urging New York State to issue guidance about mask usage for theatre workers, and how to use proof of vaccination or negative testing to ensure that employees and crowds can return to the theatre in the autumn.
“We’ve got to lay the groundwork for a strong comeback for Broadway and off-Broadway. Our theatre community needs it…our city needs it, too. It’s part of our identity,” he said.
“Broadway needs to come back, and we will move heaven and earth to bring Broadway back.”
New York theatre has continued to host and produce online performances during the pandemic. Recently, a TikTok-inspired musical version of Ratatouille helped to raise support for The Actors Fund.
Broadway has a large economic impact on the city. The Broadway League, the organisation that represents theatres and producers, has calculated that there were 14.8 million attendees at productions during 2018-19. Of these attendees, 65% were tourists, with 19% of all visitors coming from outside of the United States.
The theatre industry also supports almost 97,000 jobs in the city.
Words by Ellen Leslie.
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