As the pandemic trampled across the United States in 2020, one of the first indications in New York that things were going to be very bad for a very long time was the closure of Broadway theaters. Last October, the Broadway League made the announcement that all performances at Broadway theaters in New York City would be suspended until May 30th, 2021, but by then, much destruction and despair had already hit the industry. Laid-off performers struggled to acquire substantial aid, and beloved Broadway figures like Nick Cordero passed away due to complications from the virus. Light was desperately needed, and on Thursday, Mayor de Blasio announced that the city will begin to set up COVID-19 vaccine sites so that eligible theater workers can finally get their shots.
“There’s a great saying in the theater – ‘the show must go on’ — and the show will go on on Broadway and off-Broadway when we get to the fall,” de Blasio said at a press briefing, according to the New York Post. Specifically, the plan for the shots includes setting up vaccination sites in units on Broadway itself, with mobile units dispatched to serve off-Broadway performers. Additionally, pop-up coronavirus testing sites will be set up at theaters both on and off Broadway.
“The city of New York – we’ll do the vaccinations, we’ll do the testing, we’ll help with the crowd management working with the theaters. We’ll do everything in our power to bring Broadway and off-Broadway back strong,” de Blasio added. Getting performances back up and running has also been a explicit goal of Governor Cuomo’s, but the fact remains that during one of the worst years on record for live performers, little was offered in the way of sustained financial assistance aside from a few specialized grants. If Broadway performers decide to resume their professions, how will they feel about it? Will they feel safe doing so? Scores of unanswered questions remain.