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NY’s Broadway remains closed until May 2021

Joel C. Bautista | The Ticker

New York City’s renowned Broadway stages will be closed through May 2021. As the city is forced to deal with a major loss of income from Broadway’s tourism revenue, the stages remain empty and thousands of employees are left looking for alternate work.

While many other businesses and enterprises are able to adjust to the CDC’s guidelines and alter their business practices to adhere to social distancing, Broadway is not. According to Broadway producers, a socially-distanced viewing arrangement is not economically feasible. The theater organization will have to remain closed until more applicable methods of avoiding the contraction of COVID-19are developed.

The Actor’s Equity Association is the union for the thousands of individuals that helps bring Broadway shows to life. Of the 51,000 stage actors and managers employed by the union, more than 1,100 actors and managers lost work due to the pandemic.

On top of that, New York’s theater industry is responsible for supporting 100,000 local jobs, including nearby restaurant employees, retail workers and taxi drivers. As federal unemployment funds run out, more and more of these people are left frantically searching for work.

Some producers have attempted to release prerecorded versions of their productions onto various streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Disney+, in an effort to raise capital and allow them to produce pay checks and medical coverage for their casts and crew.

As for New York’s economy, the loss of Broadway has left a painful financial dent. Aside from New York’s Broadway fanatics, there are those called “Broadway Birds,” or tourists that flock to New York City from other states or countries for the main purpose of seeing at least one Broadway show seasonally. In fact, tourists account for over 65% of Broadway’s annual ticket sales, their trips contributing about $11.5 billion to the NYC economy just last year, according to CNBC.

Of that $11.5 billion, roughly $8 billion was allocated to restaurants, transportation, hotels and shopping. The last Broadway season, lasting from May 28, 2018 to May 26, 2019, brought in over $1.83 billion — the highest-grossing season in Broadway’s history. With the most recent season cut short in March, the financial losses are prominent.

Despite all, the show will go on. Be it on a digital screen or in theaters this coming May, Broadway and its supporting teams are “New York Strong” and working to bring their craft to theater lovers across the world in the best and safest way possible.

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