New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that the state would be lifting all of its capacity restrictions beginning May 19, including for Broadway theaters. The move clears the way for Broadway to return on that date, along with other theaters and indoor venues.
The lifting of the restrictions also impacts restaurants, museums, salons, gyms and other stores. Cuomo however added that social distancing measures will remain in effect in accordance with the CDC, unless all attendees provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result. Capacity limits on large, outdoor stadiums for now will remain at 33%.
Broadway has indicated that from a financial perspective, September would be the likely date most shows would return to the stage, given logistical complications, but this is a promising first step.
Broadway has remained dark since March 20, 2020, with the reopening date pushed back time and again as the coronavirus pandemic has raged on. But with vaccination rates rising in New York City and throughout the state, the industry is starting to see signs of life, and some shows have signaled their plans for a return as early as September. What's more, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated his goal to fully reopen the city by July 1.
In a statement provided to TheWrap, The Broadway League said: "We applaud the Governor's recent announcement easing capacity limits on performance venues in New York State. We are encouraged by this good news, which is a long-awaited indication that New York is truly on the road to recovery. We look forward to reopening at full capacity and are working to safely welcome audiences and employees back to Broadway theatres this fall. As always, we continue to work closely with our elected officials and will share more information as soon as plans become finalized."
Watch Cuomo's full briefing from Monday below: