Limited live performances and events can resume in New York in April

March 3, 2021

Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash

After being closed for over a year, events, arts, and entertainment venues can reopen at a limited capacity next month. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that as soon as April 2, live performance venues will be able to open indoor spaces at 33 percent capacity or up to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of a negative coronavirus test prior to entry, capacity can increase to 150 people indoors and 500 people outdoors, according to the state.

Last month, the state launched the “NY PopsUp” initiative, a program that includes 300 pop-up live outdoor events and performances around New York. Curated by interdisciplinary artist Zack Winokur, the events will be held at subway stations, parks, street corners, storefronts, and other unique locations.

The program kicked off on January 20 at the Javits Center with a special performance dedicated to healthcare workers. Now, as more New Yorkers receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the next phase of the initiative can begin with the use of indoor “flexible” venues. Venues that could reopen include The Shed, the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage, La MaMa, and the Alice Busch Opera Theater.

Some NY PopsUp events could take place at select Broadway theaters, which have been closed since March 12. Deadline reported on Wednesday that the Shubert Organization’s Music Box Theatre will be one of the venues reopening.

Led by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, the effort also involves local arts organizations like Ballet Hispánico, Ars Nova, the Albany Symphony, the National Black Theatre, and others. It will culminate with two “landmark” events in June: the opening of Little Island at Pier 55 and the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival. There will be at least 1,000 performances and events held by the end of the program’s run.

Cuomo on Tuesday announced a new digital app that provides proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for entry at indoor events. The “Excelsior Pass” was tested during a Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center and at a Rangers game at Madison Square Garden.

The app will be similar to a mobile airline boarding pass and will have a QR code that will be scannable by venue staff. Large arenas and stadiums were allowed to welcome back fans and audiences, with testing, on February 23. Social distancing and face coverings will be required.

“New Yorkers have done a tremendous job working to defeat COVID, and we’re gradually loosening restrictions as the numbers reduce and the public health improves. It’s clear that if we remain vigilant, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel,” Cuomo said.

Stay up to date with the city’s reopening with our guide here.


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