Broadway reopening anticipated to be September 2021, after Broadway has been closed for over 18 months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Spring 2021 has arrived, the pandemic recovery is now in full swing and over 35% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. So when is Broadway Reopening? Broadway has now been closed for over 18 months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Broadway fans want to know when they can expect the theatres to reopen.
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has been clear that the city is now prepared to "fully reopen" on July 1, 2021. That statement was not a correct and full one as Broadway theatres will still remain closed. Mayor de Blasio did add that some small off-Broadway theatres could open on July 1. He would not get into detail about the reopening dates of Broadway theatres. All Broadway theatres have over 500 seats and pose a greater risk of infection. They have always been expected to only open in phase 4, which is the very last phase.
The Phase 4 Broadway reopening plan has not yet got an official date, but September 2021 is the anticipated date.
Broadway Shows Set For September 2021 Reopening
Broadway shows are expected to reopen throughout the month of September 2021. The show openings will be staggered throughout the month to avoid any potential pitfalls. Ticket sales are expected to begin during the month of June, 2021. A number of protocols will be observed during the Broadway reopening performances including mandatory masks and contact tracing. It is unclear what the level of occupancy will be at the Broadway reopening. The number is expected to be at least 75%, ramping up to 100% by January 2022. Vaccinations and COVID-19 testing may also play a part.
July 4, 2021 Stunt-Reopening For Hamilton
The July 4 charity opening for Hamilton is still in the cards. If the Hamilton show producers can get the unions to play ball, then this event is still in play. The logistical challenges are high, but producers think they may be able to pull it off. The show may perform on just that one that day only, which is a Sunday. It may then open properly in September like the remainder of Broadway shows.
For this one-off show, proof of vaccination will be required and mandatory masks will be the order of the day. Contact tracking will also be in effect. It is unclear how high the occupancy rate will be for this event. Producers expect it to be at least 50% but this will change closer to the date, upon guidance from the CDC, the Mayor and the Governor.
Ongoing War Between the New York City Mayor and New York State Governor
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio and the New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, have been in a political battle for some time. The ongoing spat does not do any favors for NYC and especially for the Broadway community and its reopening. The two public figures cannot seem to agree on anything and when the Mayor makes a decision, it is largely symbolic because the Governor must approve it.
The governor has the ultimate say what happens in NYC and Bill de Blasio hates him for it. This breakdown in the relationship may have an effect on the reopening day for Broadway, as they each like to outdo the other. Any reopening announcement must be tempered with what the other believes to be correct.
Broadway Reopening Stymied by Broadway Union Problems
The Broadway unions are not going to allow their members back to work unless all their concerns about the risk of exposure have been met. This may delay the Broadway reopening process while the shows make changes to the work environment. The unions have joined forces under the banner of The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds. The group now comprises 13 separate unions including The American Guild of Musical Artists, Actors Equity Association and The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
Broadway Theatre Air Filtration Problems
Many Broadway theatres are antiquated and have terrible air filtration systems. This poses a virus risk to performers, crew and audience. Most of these dilapidated Broadway theatres are owned by The Shubert Organization. Charles Flateman, the Executive Vice President at the Shubert Organization, is not expected to pay for upgrades in his batch of aging and dilapidated Broadway theatres.
Other theatre organizations might just do the air filtration upgrades. They may be motivated if they can get a cash injection from the government. This could come as part of the current federal infrastructure bill heading through congress.