By LAUREN LEE
Broadway, the center of theater and a symbol of resilience in New York, has shut down until June 7, extended from April 12, amidst the threat of the coronavirus. The industry has decided to close its shows until further notice because they faced restrictions on audience size and concerns over health risks for the actors and patrons involved in the shows. The shutdown will cost Broadway millions of dollars and is likely to lead to the closing of shows that will be unable to survive the loss of exposure and revenue. Because the closing was government mandated, however, the insurance companies will be compensating for a majority of the money lost during this period of time. This Broadway restriction involved thirty one shows, from iconic musicals such as “Lion King” to new musicals such as “Six.” While this is a seemingly necessary action, the effects it will have on the community are far more long lasting.
In addition to Broadway, New York’s other huge cultural institutions, such as the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and Carnegie Hall, are also being put on hold until the virus outbreak slows down and it is once again safe to operate these large facilities. However, the impact this will have of Broadway is not fully known, because Broadway has never experienced something of this great measure before. The last time Broadway went dark was for two days after the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers. Broadway shows in particular would have had many risk factors, however, if the theaters were to remain open. A large portion of the audience consists of older members, who are more susceptible to the virus than any other demographic of people. Additionally, Broadway’s revenue largely depends on tourism and traveling groups of people, which has since been drastically declining since the pandemic. Lastly, social distancing, which is now recommended amongst all individuals, would be essentially impossible in the theaters, while are tightly packed and hold hundreds of people at a time.
All in all, the outcome of Broadway closing amidst all the chaos going on in the world is the least of our worries in the grand scheme of things. Actions must be done, as tough as they are, to halt the rapid spread of the virus and to keep as many people safe as can be controlled.