COVID vaccination site opens in Times Square for theater, film, and TV workers
A coronavirus vaccination site with appointments set aside for theater, film, and television workers opened in Times Square on Monday. Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to open a vaccine hub on Broadway for the theater industry ahead of The Great White Way’s expected reopening later this year. The newly opened site, located at 20 Times Square, will now have vaccine slots designated for TV and film actors and crew members.
The mayor said the city worked closely with industry unions on outreach and the site’s opening, which included hiring members of the theater community for non-medical staff positions. The vaccine site, previously home to the NFL Experience, is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“This is going to help the industry come back, but much more importantly, it’s part of the lifeblood of our city,” de Blasio said during a press briefing on Monday. “It’s part of just what makes us special.”
De Blasio said a “special guest” would join the city on Monday as part of the site’s opening; The New York Post later reported that the guest is playwright and New York City native, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Last month, the mayor said Broadway theaters are aiming for a September reopening but need six months to prepare. In addition to the vaccination site, the mayor previously announced plans to open COVID testing sites near theaters and develop plans to help manage crowds before and after shows.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has also said the fall seems possible for the return of Broadway, depending “on the uptake of vaccines by the people of the country and specifically the people of New York.” Even if the country achieves wide protection from the virus, meaning between 70 and 85 percent of people vaccinated, masks and social distancing will likely still be required, Fauci said, according to Playbill.
All 41 Broadway theaters have been closed since March 12, 2020, because of the pandemic, with the reopening date moved multiple times throughout the crisis. Broadway is responsible for nearly 100,000 jobs in New York City.
Indoor arts and entertainment venues have been reopened since April 2, 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.
See if you’re eligible for the vaccine and make an appointment at a state-run site here. You can also call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX. For the city’s vaccine appointment finder website, which will include the new Times Square site, click here.
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Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on March 25, 2021, and has since been updated.