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Broadway is canceled: New York governor orders closure of theaters, ban on gatherings of 500+ due to coronavirus

Broadway is canceled: New York governor orders closure of theaters, ban on gatherings of 500+ due to coronavirus
Looking to slow the spread of coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a ban on gatherings of 500 or more and shut down Broadway theaters in Manhattan, while New York City has declared a state of emergency.

Intended to help "reduce the density" of crowds, the theater ban takes effect at 5 pm local time on Thursday, while the moratorium on large gatherings will be enforced starting 5 pm on Friday, Cuomo said.

Furthermore, Cuomo has decreed that all facilities with the legal occupancy limit of fewer than 500 people will have that cut by 50 percent.

“We have already spoken to the theaters about these new measures and they agreed,” the governor tweeted, confirming earlier reports by local media that a shutdown was coming.

Actors Equity, a union representing performers, has been lobbying for a ban because its members are concerned about contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus. The shutdown is expected to last through April 12.

About an hour before the Broadway shutdown, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a state of emergency and asked the federal government for stimulus funding.

The New York Philharmonic has already canceled all performances through March 31, citing “the safety and security of our guests, musicians and employees.”

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All events at New York City public libraries have been canceled starting Friday, but the libraries remain open, for now. 

Cuomo’s latest measures are intended to enforce “social distancing,” as New York is struggling to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. There were 112 new infections overnight, bringing the state total to 328 confirmed cases as of Thursday.

The governor has already set up a “containment zone” in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City in the affluent Westchester County that has logged 148 cases so far. However, the virus has already spread to NYC where 95 cases have been registered, and to Long Island, where 40 people have tested positive. 

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