The Broadway League said Broadway shows would go on as usual after the industry reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus.
An individual who worked as an usher at the Booth Theatre and who managed the lines outside the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in early March tested positive for COVID-19, the Shubert and Nederlander Organizations said Wednesday. The individual is currently in quarantine, and both “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Six” planned to play Wednesday evening performances.
“The Booth and the Brooks Atkinson theatres have been cleaned from top to bottom and the shows are performing tonight along with all other productions. Enhanced cleaning procedures have been in place for two weeks. What’s important to note is that the Shubert and Nederlander organizations responded immediately to this information and had the theatres cleaned by the largest outside contractor in the cleaning business. We will always modify our procedures if we learn of new things we should be doing,” the League said in a statement to Broadway News.
Earlier this week, the League said that Broadway remained “open for business” and that it would be not shut down unless mandated by city and state officials. Though the insurance policies vary by production, many shows may not receive coverage unless ordered to close by the government.
In response to the spread of the virus, Broadway theaters have enhanced their cleaning procedures and have cut down on stage door activities and backstage visitors.
In San Francisco, the city government has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people, which includes many theater performances. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” has cut its capacity down to 1,000 people to continue playing while being in compliance. Washington D.C. has given the same recommendation.
In a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration would shut down institutions and venues as needed, but that he realized the economic strain and disruption of daily life it would cause.
“We are not rushing with great joy to the notion of shutting everything down,” de Blasio said.