New York pol calls on Cuomo to reopen comedy clubs

Posted On Tue, September 22, 2020 By

Posted On Tue, September 22, 2020 By In City Living, Policy

Photo by ajay_suresh on Flickr

New York gyms, malls, museums, and restaurants, have all been given the green light from officials to reopen. Why not comedy clubs? State Sen. Michael Gianaris is proposing new measures that would allow comedy venues to immediately reopen under the same coronavirus restriction placed on other indoor activities, which would include a 25 percent capacity limit. “I challenge anyone to explain why comedy clubs would be less safe to operate than restaurants or bowling alleys,” Gianaris, who represents parts of Queens, told the New York Post.

The proposals would make the same measures currently proposed for restaurants apply to comedy clubs as well, like requiring a 25 percent capacity. For the first time since March, restaurants in New York City will be able to reopen for indoor dining on September 30.

Another proposal from Gianaris and comedy club owners who back the bills would allow venues that do not serve alcohol and food to open at 50 percent capacity, which is currently the standard for all bowling alleys in the state.

“Comedy clubs should be subject to the same rules as other similar businesses,” Gianaris wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.”They should be allowed to safely reopen.”

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week said comedy clubs and concert venues were still too risky to reopen and questioned the necessity to reopen them.

“I hate to say this because everything is essential – comedy club,” Cuomo said in an interview last week with radio host Jay Oliver. “How essential is a comedy club when you’re talking about the infection rate? Not to offend people in the comedy club, Lord knows we need to laugh, but those are the calibrations we’re making.”

Like most businesses in New York and especially across the five boroughs, comedy clubs and independent music venues have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. Entertainers, venue and theater owners, and politicians have pushed Congress to pass the Save Our Stages Act as part of the next COVID-19 relief package. The legislation would provide $10 billion for grants offered to operators of live entertainment venues and related workers in the industry.

According to Sen. Chuck Schumer, 90 percent of independent venues report that they will have to close permanently without federal funding, a recent survey of National Independent Venue Association members found.

[Via NY Post]

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